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Summer in D.C. - Allie Lee interns with Sen. Cassidy

Published Sept. 27, 2018

This past summer, Alexandra “Allie” Lee, a University of Louisiana Monroe political science major from West Monroe, had the honor of interning for U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge), working out of Cassidy’s Washington, D.C., office.

Allie Lee interned in U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's office during the summer. Emerald McIntyre/ULM Photo Services

It was Lee’s second summer working with an elected official; in 2017 she interned for Louisiana State Sen. Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe).

So how does one go about getting an internship? 

“I made many political connections during my time with Senator Walsworth, including ones with Senator Cassidy’s state and regional staff,” Lee said. “As I networked, I continued to express my interest of interning in Washington, D.C., for Senator Cassidy, and eventually his D.C. staff reached out to me.”

Lee said there is quite a bit of competition for only a few internships. A strong GPA and a professional manner are necessary, but interest and experience go a long way in being chosen.

“My passion for politics and enhanced level of involvement with state and local politics positioned me as a highly competitive candidate,” Lee said.

Interns are paired with a staff member based on the policy topic that most interests them. For Lee, it was money. 

“I chose to pair with the staff member who handles financial matters like taxes and funding,” Lee said. “This allowed me to engage in purposeful work, which was my favorite part about the actual work itself. One of the most important things my staff member worked on this summer was the paid leave hearing chaired by Senator Cassidy in July. 

“The paid family leave project was proposed by the President’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump. After extensive preparation for the hearing, the day finally came, and I got to meet Ivanka Trump. My experience in assisting with this event left me feeling that I had accomplished something meaningful during my time as an intern.”

Other intern duties are office responsibilities, conducting legislative research, assisting constituents, giving tours of the Capitol and attending Congressional Committee hearings. There’s also a light side to being an intern.

“Some of the most fun experiences I had this summer were from hanging out with the friends I made in his office. We explored D.C. together and became very close by the end of the internship due to our shared passion for politics,” Lee said.

Lee also spent time with Sen. Cassidy, “He allowed us to sit in on one meeting a week and assist with certain projects, so I was able to keep constant contact with him during the whole internship.”

Lee came away from her summer experience with the answer to an important question in her life — what was she going to do next?

“At the beginning of the summer, my options were narrowed down to law school, Capitol Hill, or news reporting. By the end of summer, I knew that reporting was where my next steps were going to take me,” Lee said. “Although my internship was amazing, I learned that Capitol Hill was not where I wanted to start my career — something I would not have known otherwise. That is the most I could have asked for out of this experience, so I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity.”