Experience Information

Employer: U.S. Congress
Job Title: Intern
Major: Political Science
Received Credit: Yes
Paid: No
Abroad: No

Description of the Organization

The Congresswoman is a Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on the Interior. She is also a member of the House Committee on Small Business and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security; Agriculture, Energy, and Trade; and Contracting and Workforce. Although the Congresswoman formally makes all of the decisions, what I have learned in the two weeks of being here is, all of the details (as well as the overarching decisions on what would be the best way for the Congresswoman to vote) are tasks delegated to her full-time staffers and interns.

Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed

Some of the tasks I performed in my internship were: attending briefings on circumstances including current events, bills and resolutions the Congresswoman will vote on, writing suspensions on issues the Congresswoman will vote 'Yay' to, reading constituent's concerns, and emailing Legislative Directors (LD) from other offices around the Hill regarding resolutions and acts the Congresswoman wants to cosponsor. While I enjoyed every part of my job, my favorite and most exciting skill I was able to develop here is drafting legislation.

Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience

Additionally, I was able to do research on past bills similar to my resolution, and made calls to organizations such as JStreet, NIAC and other 'stakeholders' that were interested in writing a formal endorsement for my future bill. Even though I was able to get formal endorsements from some organizations, many events in Congress took place, such as the Democrat sit-in after the Pulse nightclub shooting, that took my attention away from my own research, and redirected it to doing a task for my LD. However, I still feel strongly about recognizing and celebrating holidays of countries the United States is looking to normalize relations with. Like Saadi Shirazi, I believe there is an essence of sentimentality and yearn for unity that exists in all members of the human race, and in looking past our differences, I believe both the U.S. and Iran have the potential to thrive as counterparts, rather than languish as adversaries.

Favorite Part of the Experience

Aside from pursuing initiatives the Congresswoman has personally proposed, I was also able to create my own proposals. When I was first made aware of this opportunity, I started to think about what issues are important to me. After reflecting on many issues that are important to me, I decided to look into proposing a resolution to recognize 'Norooz' (Persian New Year) as National Holiday, similar to the recognition given many Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah or Hanukah. Having a strong interest in being a part of the movement to ensure nuclear nonproliferation, I believe one of the ways to do this is taking steps to normalize relations between the U.S. and Iran start through exposure.

How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals

After graduation, I plan to apply for a full-time staffer position on the Hill, and I hope to utilize the connections and experiences I learn to propel my professional career closer to my overall aspirations. I intend to pursue graduate study in Farsi language and culture, ideally completing a masters in Persian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Upon completion of my graduate studies, I will either return to DC and work for the federal government or seek a research fellowship at the Brookings Institute, Carnegie Institute for International Peace or another similar non-governmental organization. My long-term goal is to conduct research alongside other disciplinary professionals in Middle East policy studies with an emphasis in national security and human rights.

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