Students Intern For The Washington State Legislature

This year, the Washington State Legislature selected four UWT students to participate in its Legislative Internship Program. About 60 students statewide are selected as interns who then work directly for members of the Senate or House.  All interns work full time for the Legislature over the winter quarter, earning 15 credits in the process.

Jasmin Randhawa is a Senior majoring in Politics Philosophy and Economics.  She served as a Policy Research Intern for the Senate Democratic Caucus. What stood out for her about this internship is the exposure it gave her to role models.  “For someone who comes from a marginalized community, this is a really great way to enter the world of politics. I met a Senator who speaks the same language as I do and it’s like “wow!” that that could be me.”

Alexandria Steele, a senior majoring in Psychology, interned with Reps Berry, Frame, and Senn. She too found that the experience changed her.  “As a student from a working-class background, I hadn’t thought that much about how to prepare myself for post-graduation.  I just focused on my grades, and now I realize not that many people care about grades.  I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Dalton Stephens, a senior in Law and Policy, interned for Senator Sam Hunt of District 22 representing Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater.  Dalton found the internship offered a unique professional opportunity.  “It’s exciting to be in political circles and to understand what everyone is saying. It’s amazing how well interns blend in.  I’ve probably learned more during this internship than in two years of college.”

Jonathon Church, a senior in Politics Philosophy and Economics, interned for Reps. Barkis, Klippert, and Sutherland. He seconded the unique educational value of this internship:  “It helped orient me toward the job market and got me to apply what I’ve learned in fields that I’m interested in.”

In addition to interning, students also take part in Civic education, which includes a mock debate, guest speakers, and educational lectures designed to enhance their internship.  This year’s mock debate was overseen by Lt. Gov Denny Heck playing the role of President of the Senate, a role he plays in real life. Remarked Jon Church:  “It is hard not to take it serious when you hear the Lt. Gov. Call out your name with the word Senator before it!”

All four students agreed that this unique internship opportunity is a rigorous one. “It’s one of the most challenging learning experiences I’ve ever had,” summed up Jon Church.

Go here to listen to an interview with the four students.