Anxiously, I answered the phone call from Melissa Richmond, Vice-President of Running Start, knowing the fate of my last semester of undergrad would soon be revealed. She greeted me kindly and delivered the news that I had obtained a fellowship spot with the organization. Trying to maintain composure, I accepted without reservation knowing that this would be a time of exponential growth for me.
Running Start is a nonpartisan organization which strives to enhance the representation of women in American governance. The organization trains and equips young women across the nation to run for political office. This fellowship program, in particular, is unique in that it selects 7 college-aged women to intern in congressional offices for one semester. Interns are required to work in a congressional office Monday-Thursday, and attend political training on Fridays. When I accepted this fellowship, I knew that placement would be an integral part of my overall experience in D.C. After much research and consideration, I requested to be placed in Representative Martha Roby’s office, and she welcomed me to her team.
Congressman Roby represents Alabama’s second district and is a well-respected woman of Congress. She sits on two of the most important House Committees— Judiciary and Appropriations. Along with being a mother, wife, and friend, she strives to represent her constituents in Washington well.
Interning during this critical time in American Government has truly been an insightful experience. Aside from the invaluable experience I get from working in the office, I have had the distinct privilege of witnessing the transition of a new administration and a new congress. \
I have even become more familiar with legislative processes and policy issues. Focusing on Health Care and Human Trafficking issues this session was an instinctive choice as these are two issues which are important to me. Whether it is attending policy briefings or writing up appropriation memos, I have gained a new appreciation for experiential learning.
The beauty of working in Representative Roby’s office is that each day brings a unique experience. Although I have a short morning routine to prepare for each day, the day’s course is often adventurous and unpredictable. However, Team Roby does its best to roll with the tide—that’s an Alabama reference.
Representative Roby also made time to sit and led me interview her! We discussed the intricacies of her role in government and the family she has structured around it. This gave me a special insight to what it is like to be a woman in politics.
The training and mentorship Running Start and Representative Roby’s office have provided has truly made me a better-rounded individual. Both offices have opened up a many networking opportunities.
While most of my time in Washington has been spent working in Congress, I have had some time to explore the historical sites and museums as well. From the Washington Monument in D.C., to the Statue of Liberty in New York…
I am always captivated by the beauty of these sites and the sacrifices that were made to found this great nation. Visiting art museums and National Parks are two of my top interests, so I carved out time to visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Great Falls.
I have also had special opportunities such as observing oral arguments before the Supreme Court and attending the Texas Delegation with TSUS Board Members and SHSU’s President Hoyt at he U.S. Botanical Garden.
I also had the chance to see the nomination hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Gorsuch.
Interning for Congresswoman Roby and being a Star Fellow has reaffirmed my aspiration to become a public servant. Not only has this experience given me the confidence to go after my dreams of becoming a politician, but also showed me that with hard work, it is possible.