Alumni Feature || U.S. Sen. Tina Smith Internship Program in St. Paul
written by | Lexi Byler
I hope the academic year is treating you well. Despite the amount of snow outside, summer is just around the corner. I’m the former Vice Chair of Students United (2017-2018) and the current Intern Coordinator in U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s state office in St. Paul. The deadline to apply for our summer internship program is this Friday, March 15 and I hope you’ll consider applying.
Interns are an important part of our team. They speak to constituents on the phone and help track how Minnesotans feel about the issues we face as a state and country. Additionally, interns help intake casework and are able to observe how we serve Minnesotans by helping them navigate issues they’re having with federal agencies. It’s a great opportunity to learn in-depth about these agencies and how they affect people. The agencies we work with the most are U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Veterans Administration.
Our interns also work directly with staff. Each are assigned to more than one staff member and work on various projects. Our interns are guaranteed to work with at least one person who specializes in an area that interests them. The types of projects include conducting research, as well as writing memos and letters. Other projects depend on which staff members they’re working with and the needs of the office at the time. Interns also attend events and meetings with the staff and/or the Senator and are able to observe how our outreach staff act as the Senator’s “eyes and ears” in the state. Pairing interns with staff is not only a great mentoring and networking opportunity, but a chance to develop professionally.
The benefits to our internship program don’t end there. Interns have exclusive access to the congressional research database and webinars from the U.S. Senate Learning Center, giving them the ability to learn from experienced professionals about topics such as: legal and legislative research, parliamentary procedure, analyzing data and more.
Finally, the capstone of our internship program is the final presentation. Each intern is assigned a topic based on their interests and the needs of the office. They’re given several weeks to prepare and become experts on the topic before presenting it to the staff. The final presentations are an important resource for the office. Not only do staff enjoy learning more about important topics and issues, but we archive all the presentations and the resources used to create them to reference later on as needed.
Our internship program is a unique and exciting opportunity to learn, develop professionally, and serve Minnesotans. It’s designed so interns leave with a full understanding of how the Senator’s state office serves and represents its constituents.
Our office offers a stipend for the internship. To apply, email a cover letter (indicating your weekly availability), a resume, and a list of three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. We require three full days or five partial days during our summer session. For more information about both the St. Paul and D.C. internship programs, visit: www.smith.senate.gov/content/internships.