Hello from Washington, D.C (Part Two!)

This winter, I have been working on Capitol Hill for Senator Tom Udall, who is from my home state of New Mexico.  I have had an incredible experience in D.C. and I can't believe the term is already over! As an intern, my main responsibilities were conducting policy research and preparing reports for staff members, going to briefings and hearings and writing up summaries for staff members, helping respond to constituent's questions and concerns through mail and email, and helping out around the office in any other way I could.

The main focus of my work was healthcare policy, so I researched and prepared reports on a variety of issues in that area, including healthcare reform as well as other issues more specific to New Mexico. I really enjoyed learning about healthcare policy because it is such a pertinent issue that affects us all in different ways. Attending Congressional briefings was also a great learning experience because I was able to listen to professionals at the top of their different fields discuss issues and potential solutions to problems in those areas. One of my most memorable experiences was listening to Ben Bernancke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, speak at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. As an Economics major, Ben Bernancke is a pretty familiar name and it was really neat to be able to apply some of the things I have learned in my Economics classes. Another thing that I will take away from my experience is how important constituents are in the lawmaking process. I enjoyed helping respond to constituents' concerns and questions because it required me to research and understand the area myself. It was interesting to see which issues were of most concern to New Mexicans and to see how the Senator works to respond directly to the people he represents. 

Outside of work, it was great being in D.C. because I was able to live in Georgetown with my brother and train with teammate Aurelia Solomon. Overall, my experience in DC was great, and interning for Senator Udall opened my eyes to different areas that I may be interested in pursuing after Dartmouth. The fact that the flexibility of the D-Plan at Dartmouth allows students to take advantage of unique study abroad and internship opportunities is something that I really value as a part of my Dartmouth education. I am so glad I was able to have this experience, but I am definitely looking forward to getting back to classes and soccer at Dartmouth!

-Paige Dekker