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Congressman Tom Reed, NY-23
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Sarah Leipham

Major: Political Science, Psychology
Minor: Labor and Employment Relations
Hometown: Horseheads, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this through my congressman's website. He has served my area for many years, and the best way to learn more about him and these types of internship opportunities was through his website.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I interned at Congressman Tom Reed's district office in Corning, NY. There I answered constituent phone calls, sorted mail, updated contact sheets, and helped plan different district events and initiatives. I had to stay on top of not only happenings in the federal government, but also on Congressman Reed's responses and own initiatives. Being informed was a key aspect of this internship, as well as maintaining high levels of customer service, for constituents could certainly be hard to deal with on the phone. In the district office, I was surrounded by several of the congressman's staffers who helped me a lot and gave me projects to work on, including the annual Manufacturing Summit and Town Hall meetings. I also worked on various accolades, proclamations, and letters for the congressman's signature.

...an internship with a representative or administrator in a department of interest...is how you see the demands of public service and what it truly means to serve the people.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience showed me that political science in the classroom is very different from that in the real world setting, namely because of the overall nature of public service. In the lecture hall, I have learned about the institutions and processes of the government. In the real world, you are there to serve the people, who do not all have the same understanding of what truly goes on in the government. This is important to note as I continue my political science endeavors.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Before, I wanted to work my way up in the federal government in the realms of policy and strategy. While this internship was such an honor, it did demonstrate to me that I may better enjoy doing similar tasks involving policy, strategy, and operations, but in the private sector for a company. I do not think I would have come to this conclusion without having this internship opportunity, and for that I am so thankful.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

If one wants to work in the realm of government, an internship with a representative or administrator in a department of interest is basically vital. This is how you see the demands of public service and what it truly means to serve the people. The connections made through this are an added bonus, especially for recommendations down the line.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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