Maggie King

Internship: New York Senator Patty Ritchie

Tell us about your responsibilities.
As an intern, my main responsibility was to answer constituent phone calls. Throughout the day, constituents would call in with various questions, complaints, concerns, or compliments for the Senator. As a representative of the Senator, I had to document their call, and if they had a specific concern or request, take care of the issue. For example, a woman called in because her veteran husband's grave did not have a flag on it for Memorial Day. I then documented the issue, called the cemetery, and had a flag sent from the Senator to be put on the grave. In the down time between phone calls I wrote letters to constituents, researched news stories that were affecting people in the area, and researched possible future agricultural legislation.

What is the atmosphere like?
The atmosphere was very friendly and welcoming. It was a very small office, with only four or five employees there at a time. A majority of the people working in the office were under the age of 30, meaning we had a lot of similar likes, dislikes, and views of the world. As a result of there being a lot of downtime, I created close personal relationships with my coworkers, and have remained in touch with them after leaving my internship.

What experiences at Lasell helped you prepare for this internship?
The experience at Lasell that helped me most prepare for this internship was writing for HerCampus and Polished Magazine. These extracurricular activities enhanced my writing skills, which came in very useful when I was required to write formal letters on behalf of the Senator.

How did your courses at Lasell relate to your internship?
My courses at Lasell have increased my writing abilities, which helped me immensely at my internship, since I was expected to write formal letters on behalf of the senator. Specifically, my Legal Studies class gave me background information I needed to assist constituents calling in with legal issues, and my Economics of Social Issues class taught me how to keep on track with current events that were affecting the constituents day to day lives.

What has been your favorite part of being an intern? 
My favorite part of being an intern was the immense amount of knowledge that I gained. I expected to learn more about public policy while interning there, but I also learned so much about how to be an effective politician, the way state politics run, and the types of issues that constituents bring to their public officials. Furthermore, I was able to create personal relationships with the people I worked with, increasing my understanding of how they came to work in the field, and the plethora of different paths that one can take to lead them to the field of politics.

If this internship hasn't met your expectations, what kind of internship will you pursue next time? 
My internship met the expectations I had for it, but I also learned while I was there that office jobs are not the type for me. I often found myself bored of sitting still and doing monotonous work Therefore, the next internship I pursue will be more hands on, and personally interactive with people.

Is this still the career path you want to move towards? 
I am absolutely still interested in the field of politics, but I would like to pursue public policy on an international level. This internship gave me knowledge on how small government works, which hopefully I can carry with me as I pursue a career in helping developing countries develop similarly functional structures.

Have you made any valuable connections? 
As previously stated, I made very close personal relationships with all of the people I worked with. The senator and my boss both were willing to write letters of recommendation for me, and I feel comfortable reaching back out to them for advice, mentoring, or anything else I may need.

Any favorite moments or memories at your internship? 
My favorite memory at my internship was the Upstate Women's Leadership Conference, which the Senator sponsored. It was wonderful to organize and be a part of such an important event, and to meet and interact with inspiring women from the area.