North Dakota State student Paige Hill utilized her resources to gain a three-month internship over the summer in Washington D.C. for U.S. Sen. John Hoeven from North Dakota.
Hill explained that she wanted an internship applicable to her political science major. Although she has always been interested in how and why politicians did things, Hill wanted a confirmation that she chose the correct major. Through the internship, she was able to see that politics is what she wants to do with her future.
The political science major does not require an internship, but Hill went out of her way to find one to gain more experience within her field. She decided to look up North Dakota senators when she stumbled across Sen. Hoeven’s internships. Along with this, many internships want people to have been to Washington D.C. before applying because it is a different world than just hearing about what happened on the news.
Although Hill is a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Sigma Alpha honor societies and has a 4.0 GPA, she was able to boost her resume by further building her experience in the political industry through this internship as well as her contacts in the field.
Through the three months in Washington D.C. she was able to work with five other interns. “We would work on different projects together: errands all over Capitol Hill, we answered phone calls from constituents in North Dakota when they would call and that helped work the front office, and we gave a lot of Capitol tours,” Hill said.
Each of the interns was assigned a staff member, who covers specific portfolios, to follow. Hill was assigned to the staff member Kaitlyn, who covers homeland security, government affairs and judiciary portfolios. Hill would go to hearings and briefings and write memos if the staff member was unable to attend.
Hill explained she would also give memos to the senator to brief him on any information in the meetings he was unable to attend. She worked on providing information to prepare for meetings about Hoeven’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
Being in the political industry, Hill was able to see the small things that people do not discuss. Hill shared that people do not realize there are little things that go on like a person having to fill out a bill and take it to the floor in the Senate. Instead, people forget the tediousness of this process.
Before the internship with the senator’s office, Hill did not have any political experience in the job industry, so this gave her some relevant experience to put on her resume and prepared her to enter the political world. “You read all about it, but then actually going and experiencing it is something totally different, but a lot of it kind of followed along the things I had learned so far,” Hill said.
Hill explained how she feels well rounded now. Since completing the internship, she was able to apply book knowledge to the real world before leaving college, now prepared to graduate.
“You learn so much — you can only learn so much reading about things and then when you go and actually experience things it’s totally different. It’s the same in the fact that it’s the same you read about, but experiencing it brings it to a whole new level,” Hill shared.
By living in Washington D.C. for three months, she realized Fargo, North Dakota, is actually very small. It also allowed her to be surrounded by the action rather than hearing it on the news every day. “Instead of just reading it on the news I was actually watching it play out in real life, and then I’ll see it on the news later that day,” Hill shared.
In regard to living in Washington D.C. and utilizing this internship, Hill explained, “It helped me solidify my political views — being out there and interacting with people from all different political philosophies and just kind of having conversations in the office with other staffers.”
Hill looks forward to getting more involved in politics at either a state or federal level, by either working for a senator, House members or potentially running for office in the future.