Brian Szczotka is the Chair of the University of Alabama College Republicans.
This summer, I had the honor of interning with Congressman Jerry Carl of Alabama’s First Congressional District. The district encompasses Mobile among parts of Escambia and Baldwin Counties. As someone who has never been to the city of Mobile and only came to Alabama for school a couple years ago, the staff and Rep. Carl welcomed me with open arms and made me feel a part of the Carl family from the first day.
Congressional internships are one of the ultimate experiences you can get as a college student if you have an interest in government and politics. It’s practically a rite of passage; there really is no better way to engage with policy making and the legislative process, and all while working in the storied halls of our democracy.
I was on the Hill last year when historic pieces of legislation such as the Juneteenth Federal Holiday Bill was passed and the IUMF From Iraq was repealed. This year, I was there when the NDAA was passed.
You never know who you will meet walking the halls of the United States Capitol Building, and for me, those have ranged from Vice President Kamala Harris to Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
As an intern for Cong. Carl, unlike in some other offices, I never knew what I was going to be doing every day. One day, I was giving a tour; the next day, attending a committee hearing or a briefing; the next, writing to a constituent. Some of the highlights of my internship included participating in a Capitol Dome Tour and going to intern lectures and events. The Capitol has a great intern lecture series where interns can hear from some of the foremost leaders in our nation such as Cong. Steve Scalise and Sen. Tommy Tuberville.
And yes, I may have done the typical “intern-y” things like making copies and answering the phones, but Team Carl really sought to make my internship about what I wanted to do. If there was a hearing, briefing or networking event any of us interns wanted to attend, they made it happen.
You will get out of a Congressional internship what you put in, but having an amazing family to spend your day-to-day with can absolutely enhance the experience in unexpected ways. Team Carl provided us interns with all the resources and assistance we needed to ensure we had unforgettable DC summers.