Year in school: Senior
Major: Political Science
Organization: American’s United For Separation of Church and State
Official Title: Grass Roots Intern (Field Department)
Sam’s Inspiration for the Internship
During the spring semester of his junior year Sam participated in a political science program at American University. Applications to the “Washington Semester” program are available to all Political Science majors. Part of the programs curriculum involved completing a semester-long internship. American University hosts an “internship fair” somewhat similar to Gonzaga’s “career” fair that takes place late October. Prior to the fair, Sam researched several of the organizations he knew would be there, and decided to talk to a few in particular. He had a particular interest in American’s United For Separation of Church and State, because he is interested to see how their cause relates to political policy.
The Selection Process
Sam introduced himself to the organization’s recruiter at the American University internship fair. He handed in his resume along with a specified cover letter, and had a brief discussion about his interests. The next day, Sam received a call in order to schedule an interview. His interview took place a few days later over coffee with his future supervisor. The interview was relatively standard analyzing Sam’s strengths, and weaknesses. The interviewer was primarily concerned with Sam’s perception of policy, interests, passions, and overall political knowledge. Sam impressed the interviewer, and heard back the next day with an offer for the grass roots intern position.
Relevant experience which strengthened candidacy
Prior to his experience in D.C, Sam worked part-time at Spokane law firm, Center for Justice. The Center for Justice is primarily concerned with social justice, and environmental issues. Although he was already passionate about political activism, his experience with The Center for Justice stimulated his interest even further.
Expectations of a Grass Roots Intern
As a Grass Roots Intern, Sam was responsible for maintaining relationships between the national chapter, and state and local chapters. He was primarily concerned with organizing their agendas, and making sure that all the timelines were reasonable. As the primary communicator between the national branch and smaller branches, Sam was also responsible for providing solutions to any needs of state and local branches. Throughout the semester Sam also conducted several different research assignments. The two main focuses of Sam’s research include health care, and religious issues. The primary objectives of this research was to track legislation, and create voter awareness. During his internship, Sam was expected to create web pages, and was trained on “Square Space.” He enjoyed learning how to use the program, and is thrilled to add a new skill to his arsenal.
Overall Culture of Organization
Sam described the overall culture of the grass roots communication department as fairly casual. Americans United For Separation of Church and State, is a non-partisan organization, although they have a tendency to be rather progressive. Sam suggests that all of the employees are incredibly passionate about political activism.
Sam Ultimately valued the experience because it allowed him to learn how to conduct himself in a professional setting.
Out of all the different things he experienced throughout the semester his favorite thing was purely being in the political world, and learning the ins-and-outs of the political process. He strongly recommends a semester in Washington D.C to any political science majors.
While in DC Sam thoroughly enjoyed meeting all different types of people. Sam described that DC is home to a wealth of knowledge, and he tried to take advantage of it to the fullest extent. Sam recommends that anyone who participates in this program go in with an open mind, so they can examine the political world from a variety of perspectives.