Alexander Toole ’14
Major(s): Political Science
Internship Site: Senator Susan Collins - Portland, ME
I knew that I wanted to do an internship that revolved around politics. In order to really become involved in the political career field, I also knew I would have to start at the bottom and work my way up. So, I searched the websites of my two Senators from Maine, and found that they both offered summer internships for college students. Knowing I deeply respected Senator Collins for her service to Maine and the United States, I applied for an internship in her Portland, Maine state office. I found information about the internship and an application right on her website, and it couldn’t have been easier!
My favorite projects were those that involved interacting with constituents directly. I enjoyed talking with real Mainers who had real issues that my office could hopefully work to mitigate. I felt very much a part of an organization that was truly dedicated to bettering the lives of Mainers.
Of course, my political science courses prepared me the best for this job by providing a solid background on the legislative process and governmental affairs. It was a combination of Constitutional Law, American Government, and The Legislative Process. All three classes taught me the inner workings of Congress and political campaigns, knowledge I found very useful in my office.
This internship has allowed me to further investigate the various avenues available to someone who is interested in a career in politics. My former, limited view was that I could be an elected official or a Washington, D.C. staff member. I now see that I could have a career in a state district office, or perhaps as a speechwriter or political journalist. I don’t think I would have ever known about the different angles of a political career had I not worked as an intern for Senator Collins. The internship has helped me set new career goals for the future: I want to go to law school to get an intellectual foundation for law, and then perhaps expand my writing skills by becoming a researcher or journalist. Eventually, I would like to work my way up the lines of a Senate office, from staffer to senior staffer to Senator.
Tips from Alexander:
I would recommend starting as early as possible. I began my search for a summer internship in November – it seems crazy, but it gave me plenty of time to contact people, and if anything fell through, I had plenty of time to formulate a backup plan. Starting early also shows initiative on the part of the student, and employers are impressed by the dedication. By the time April came around, I already had four or five internship offers to choose from, which was stressful but much better than having one or no options!
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.