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Common Sense on Congressional Internships

March 7, 2006

Common Sense on Congressional Internships

By Senator Tom Harkin

Are you an undergraduate student? Do you have an interest in government and public service? Are you conscientious, and with a capacity for hard work? If so, I strongly encourage you to apply for an internship in one of my Senate offices. Preference is given to students attending colleges and universities in Iowa, as well as Iowans attending schools in other states.

Interns serve in my Washington office, and also in my five state offices located in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, and Sioux City. We have three “classes” of interns each year: fall semester, spring semester, and summer (the biggest group of interns, usually 10 or 12, join my Washington office in the summer).

A Senate internship is a unique opportunity for undergraduates. In government classes, you get a textbook perspective on the legislative branch – you’re on the outside looking in. But as a Senate intern, you get an insider’s perspective on a busy congressional office and the workings of Congress. What will you do as an intern? You’ll get valuable experience researching, writing, and functioning successfully in a fast-paced environment. You’ll assist professionals who are providing services to constituents, advancing a legislative agenda, working with the press and media, and much more. It is an exceptional work experience – one that will serve you well no matter what field you choose to go into.

Of course, I also hope it will open your eyes to the value of a career in public service. I began my own career in public service as an intern for Representative Neal Smith in the House of Representatives. My internship inspired me to try to make a difference in government myself. I hope that an internship here in my office will do the same for you.

To apply for an internship, the first step is to fill out the application available on my Senate web site at http://harkin.senate.gov/internship/index.cfm. You must also submit a resume, a short writing sample, and two letters of recommendation. We are already beginning to review applications for the summer of 2006, so be sure to get your information to us as soon as you can in advance of our April 28 deadline.

Good luck and I hope to work with you in my Washington, D.C. office or here in Iowa soon!