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Congress Through the Eyes of South Alabama College Students

By Congressman Jo Bonner

Each summer, my congressional offices welcome interns from across South Alabama. During July, five college juniors worked alongside my staff in Washington and each got a rare chance to see Congress from the inside while also maintaining connections to their home state. This week, I asked them to share with you what they took home from their Washington experience.

Trace Zarr of Bay Minette: “Over the past month I have been blessed to experience a city with such a rich history, profound culture and the most diverse group of people. During my time in Washington, DC, I have seen almost every monument and memorial, been to nearly all the Smithsonian’s and museums while also maintaining a steady job working on Capitol Hill. Working in the office of a United States Congressman has been such an eye-opening and very rewarding experience. I have gained so much knowledge on our District as well as the inner-workings of our governmental system. Witnessing the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act was one of the most rewarding experiences during my time here in DC. This summer internship was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.”

Virginia Bedwell of Mobile: “Interning in Congressman Jo Bonner’s office has certainly been an experience I have never encountered before. From answering phones in the office, to giving tours of the Capitol, all opportunities given to us have been very beneficial. Being an intern on the Hill has opened several doors for meeting new people. This internship program has been an outstanding experience with learning several new things about Congress as well as our nation as a whole. With meeting new people and learning new things every day, this internship has been an experience I will never forget and hope to return to Washington, D.C. sometime in the future.”

Chris Williams of Saraland: “As an intern, I got the chance to see and meet many people that most people only read about in newspapers or see on television. I was in awe the entire time just walking through the halls of the House Office Buildings and the Capitol at the sight of so many powerful people from generals and admirals, directors and secretaries of different departments, to Senators and, of course, Representatives. My job would vary each day from running office errands, to giving tours of one of the nation’s most powerful buildings. The job of an intern is not all about sitting in the office all day. On many days we tour areas of Washington D.C. that are not always available to the general public. I will, without a doubt, remember this experience for the rest of my life and hopefully get the chance to do it again.”

Webb Bailey of Mobile: “My experience in Washington has been nothing short of spectacular. Coming from Mobile and seeing how large D.C. is with all the people and the entire infrastructure, was really eye opening. I think one thing I will take away from this internship is a better appreciation for the history of our country, learning about it in history class and seeing it firsthand are two different things. Giving tours was not only informative to guests but beneficial to me as well. This internship was not all work; I had a lot of fun in the office. Going to the House floor and broadcasting on the radio were two of many fun experiences I had. I would highly recommend anyone interested in getting involved do so.”

Lydia Wimberly of Mobile: “If your first day on the job isn’t scary enough, imagine starting that job in the bustling, extremely scheduled city of Washington D.C. Now imagine that on your first day, your train has been delayed, you went to the wrong building, and you got lost in the underground tunnels that connect the three House Office Buildings, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol. If you’ve done that, you just had a peek into my first day as an intern. When I finally made it into Congressman Bonner’s office, I knew that I was about to begin something exciting. From that first day, the four other interns and I were thrust head-long into our responsibilities: giving tours of the Capitol to Alabama visitors, researching for the Legislative Staff, composing tributes for deserving Alabamians, and answering the calls and requests of any constituents. The amount of accountability that we held was slightly daunting, but incredibly useful for our futures. This internship has taught me the impact of Congress on our everyday lives. I highly recommend to any college student who is looking for a rewarding summer experience to apply for a Congressional Internship.”

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In February, my offices will accept applications for 2013 summer internships. For more information, visit my web site or contact my Washington office.


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