The Internship office at Utah State University is a busy place this time of year, arranging for students to be in Salt Lake City to work with Utah State Legislature.
The assignments have been made and everyone is eager to get to work, said Neil Abercrombie, director of the internship program at the university.
“We have a great group of students this year,” he said. “We have one of our students that will intern for the Speaker of the House and another that will intern for the Majority Whip.”
There are 14 USU students working in the State Capitol for 45 days, from January 28 until March 14. Those involved will be getting a firsthand look at the Utah State Legislature in action. They will be working with both the House of Representatives and Senate.
USU students are among some 90 full-time interns from each of the colleges in the state assisting in each of the general sessions.
All of the interns are employed by the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel and are assigned to one or more legislators during the general session.
Those internships give students a window to observe firsthand the process of lawmaking, while providing assistance to lawmakers during the session. This program not only provides state legislatures with bright, enthusiastic people who are excited to learn about the intricate world of public policy, but it gives college students valuable experience.
USU students have a variety of responsibilities during the legislative session. Interns could write speeches, interact with constituents, attend committee meetings, track legislation, interact with government agencies, compose correspondence, research public policy issues, and perform other legislative-related duties.
The internships at the state legislature are not the only opportunities Aggies have to participate in government policies and procedures.
There were 72 interns in 46 different offices, not in Utah, but in Washington, D.C and New York City.
The university had 16 different majors, from Engineering to Political Science, represented in the college’s internship program. Dr. Shannon Peterson is heading up the international internship program.
This year, USU is sending 15 students to the nation’s capital to experience opportunities in the national governmental arena of Washington, D.C. The university has housing for those working there.
“Our primary purpose is having students involved in the political process, even some international government experiences,” Abercrombie said. “They love having our students; we have a lot students that speak foreign languages and they have a reputation of working hard.”
Some of the interns worked at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, D.C. USU also has started to develop a relationship with Switzerland and is sending a number of interns there this year, specifically to the international human rights council held this year.
The university is also sending interns to United Nations in New York to participate in the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW). It is not an internship, but a chance for students to see how the UN works.
SCW is a global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Many of the internships are offered during the summer, but there are others available year-round. Some offer pay, while others do not. They offer students exposure to a wide variety of occupations and help them apply classroom knowledge to real world applications.
Another advantage of internships is helping students develop additional skills and allowing them an opportunity to examine their career choices. Internships also give students valuable resume-building material, and a way to create a network of contacts.