Practicing Public Service

UA students at a Washington Nationals baseball game
UA students Cari Grace Lutkins, Maria O’Keefe and Allison Montgomery attend a Washington Nationals baseball game while interning in Washington, D.C.

From the June 2014 Desktop News Twenty-nine UA students are spending the summer in Washington, D.C., in internships at the White House, the Smithsonian Institute, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and offices of congressmen. Dubbed the Washington Experience, which is coordinated annually by Dr. Michael New, an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science, the internships offer students the chance to try out a career in public service and gain practical experience.

Cari Grace Lutkins, a UA junior majoring in political science from Potomac Falls, Virginia, is a congressional intern for House Majority Leader Eric Canter, R-Va. Lutkins said she hopes to go to law school after finishing her degree, and she eventually wants to work on Capitol Hill.

“My favorite part of the internship so far has been working with the other interns from around the country and getting to meet other interns in different offices,” she said. “I’ve met students from Wisconsin to New York, and getting to share the congressional internship experience with them has been amazing. I know that these connections I’m making will benefit me far into the future.”

She also said the experience has put her one step closer to fulfilling her dream of working on Capitol Hill.

“I have been able to see first-hand how politics in D.C. work, and my internship has connected me with so many staff members and other employees on the Hill that I hope to work with again in the future,” she said. “Another beneficial part of my internship is the fact that Congressman Cantor is currently running for re-election in his district, and the interns have helped contribute to the campaign. We are going to Richmond this weekend to do some door-knocking and attend a couple of his fundraising rallies. This has been particularly beneficial to me because I have always wanted to work on a campaign, and this is a good starting point.”

In addition to responsibilities at their internships, student participating in the Washington Experience also have weekly events that include meetings with congressional delegations and other chances to discuss their experiences in the field.