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Internship spotlight: Kaitlin Foran, First W.N. Looper Award recipient

Posted by: Erin Blevins | September 18, 2013 | No Comment |
Political Science major, Kaitlin Foran and U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney

Political Science major, Kaitlin Foran and U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney

Political science major, Kaitlin Foran, was selected as the first recipient of the W.N. Looper Award  sponsored by 1983 alumna Ann Looper Pryor.  This award of  $3,000 helps cover the cost of living in DC.  During the summer of 2013, Kaitlin interned with Congressman Mick Mulvaney’s (SC-5) office in Washington D.C.  She found the opportunity to work on Capital Hill unforgettable and inspiring.  She told me that Pryor kept in touch offering assistance in any way she could throughout Kaitlin’s stay in DC.

“Without this award, I would not have been able to have had this experience, an experience that unquestionably influenced my future.  Ann Looper Pryor is one of the most generous and kind people I have ever had the privilege to meet and I am so happy to have her as a friend and contact in Washington D.C.”  says Kaitlin

A typical day for Kaitlin at her internship included assisting the legislative staff on bill/ legislative research and letter writing.  She would also speak with constituents and record their comments and concerns.  She was there during the deliberation of the Farm Bill as well as communication on a potential immigration bill.  In addition to her office duties, Kaitlin gave constituents from SC district 5 private tours of the Capitol Building and House Gallery.    Kaitlin lived in a residence hall at American University and commuted back and forth from the Hill via the Metro.

She explored her surroundings, visiting museums and the National Zoo, as well as walking around the Hill and National Mall on a daily basis.  She attended a South Carolina Shag Event and watched Representative Mulvaney play in the Congressional Baseball game.   Kaitlin had the opportunity to be present for a committee hearing in the Small Business Committee and go to several talks, including one headed by Senator Mitch McConnell.  Also, while in DC, Kaitlin  was able to meet many people including Speaker of the House John Boehner, Representative Joe Wilson, Representative Mark Sanford (who she is interning with now) and Mike Tongour, a lobbyist.

We asked Kaitlin some questions about her experience and here is what she had to say:

What impact did this internship have on your career plans?

“As a political science major, I thought that after graduation I wanted to go into a field involving law and government, and where better to go for that than Washington D.C.  I had gained some experience with Congressional office and campaign internships, but I had no idea what D.C. was like, what types of positions would be open to me that involved my career path, or if I would even want to live and work there.  Completing this internship answered all of those questions for me.  Through the W.N. Looper Award I was not only able to complete an internship with Congressman Mick Mulvaney, but I was also able to live in and experience the nation’s Capitol, a city that I can’t imagine not living in now, to it’s fullest!  I also now have a more definitive idea of what I want to do after leaving the College.  I am still thinking of going to law school, however, I first want to try to get a position as a legislative assistant in a Congressional office. I worked with some of the legislative assistants in Congressman Mulvaney’s office and enjoyed helping them.  From there, I would eventually like to see myself entering a lobbying firm.”

What were the three most valuable things that you learned while completing the internship?

“The three most valuable things I learned while involved in the internship were: 1) to not doubt yourself;  you may feel like you are unprepared but, chances are, you know more and are capable of more than you think;  2) it is so important to single out what you want to do and where you want to be.  Prior to this internship I was not fully sure if I wanted to work in the government or how I even would, if my career took that path.  Just working in an office similar to my interests really cleared up many questions I had and gave me the opportunity to meet people in that field   3) try to work in a place you absolutely love.  I loved working in the Capitol and D.C. as a whole.  I can’t imagine ever wanting to work or live anywhere else.”

What advice would you offer other political science students interested in interning in DC or other places?

“Take advantage of as many opportunities that come upon them, especially when it involves internships.  There are several studies that say internships aren’t as useful as they should be, and with that I would have to disagree, with one exception:  internships, for the most part, are what the intern makes of them.  If a student is willing to do their part, then internships, are the best way to gauge what career you want to enter and the way to enter into that field.  With internships you are able to fully see how a company or group works, get a sense of what the working environment is, and what work/experience certain positions involve.  I would not have known that a legislative assistant position is something that I would have been interested  in without this internship opportunity.”

 

under: intern, Scholarships and Awards, Student

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