Q&A: Internships Offer “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Experience
With U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: Why do you offer internship opportunities in your Senate offices?
A: Throughout my public service, I have worked to engage younger generations to actively participate in civic life. For the last 38 years, I have held at least one meeting in each of Iowa’s 99 counties to seek feedback from Iowans. In addition to town hall meetings, I also schedule meetings where Iowans work -- such as factories, hospitals and offices – and where they teach and attend school to reach as many people as possible. I very much enjoy the open Q and A format I have with students in classrooms on college campuses, high schools and grade schools across our state. This year in April I conducted a youth summit called Federal Judiciary 101 to foster civic education about our system of checks and balances and the role of the judiciary with high school students. The future of America depends on an engaged and informed citizenry. Serving Iowa in the U.S. Senate is a privilege I take seriously. That includes cultivating the next crop of Iowans who are interested in government and public service. For nearly four decades, I have offered approximately 1,000 internships in my Senate offices to college-aged Iowans. Many returned as full-time congressional staffers. Whether they pursued careers in law, government, business, health care, education, agriculture, journalism or information technology, these young leaders receive a first-hand, hands-on experience that allows them a front row seat to the shaping of public policy on Capitol Hill. Most importantly, they develop an appreciation for self-government and our system of checks and balances. Two priorities I work hard to uphold are constituent services and keeping in touch with Iowans. Interns may lead Capitol tours, work alongside staff members who help Iowans with issues they may have with a federal agency, such as Veterans Affairs and Social Security, or help me to organize my correspondence with Iowans. Those assigned to the legislative department work with policy staffers to conduct research on legislation and help prepare for committee hearings and meetings. Interns also may work with my scheduling and press staff who facilitate my 99-county meetings across the state and my efforts to hold myself accountable to Iowans through the media, respectively. Consideration is given to an applicant’s area of interest. By all accounts, interns in my Senate office work in the trenches with seasoned staff members and are exposed on a daily basis to key policymaking decisions that matter to Iowans. For example, in the new 116th Congress I will serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, where I will control the gavel to the committee that has broad jurisdiction over taxes, tariffs, trade, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, pensions and many health and human services programs that affect Iowa families and taxpayers.
Q: How can interested Iowans apply for an internship?
A: Internships on Capitol Hill in my Washington, D.C. office are offered to college-aged students during the spring and fall in a 16-week session for up to seven individuals each semester. The summer internships are divided into two, six-week sessions to accommodate the larger pool of applicants. Positions also are available throughout the year in my six state offices in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and Waterloo. The application deadline for the 2019 summer internship positions is March 15, 2019. I would encourage students to consult with their academic advisors, as many schools may offer course credit for internships. The application process is competitive, especially during the summer months. Any academic major or field of study may apply, as well as any political affiliation. I encourage all college-aged Iowans to consider this opportunity, especially those who are interested in government and enjoy a fast-paced, dynamic work environment. An internship on Capitol Hill also may help open doors in the workplace after graduation. If you want to be part of history and make a difference for Iowans, consider applying for an internship. Former interns tell me that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to take advantage of policy briefings and national treasures found only in our nation’s capital. To learn more, read a first-hand account from a former intern here and visit my website to download an application here. Individuals also may contact my intern coordinator Josie Wagler by calling (202)224-3744 or sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. A couple openings still may be available for the session starting in January. Stipends are available to qualified interns to help defray living expenses.