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Student Spotlights

Aaron: Russian

Aaron interned with the Office of Senator Tom Cotton as a foreign policy intern.

Describe a day in your life as an intern.


The day to day details often changed, but they all started the same. I took the metro to arrive at the office at 8:45 to set up the office so it was ready when the senator arrived. Then I would spend my day doing a mix of clerical tasks, such as running documents, escorting visitors, and taking phone calls. When I’m not doing that, I’m helping with research for staffers on a variety of issues including Ukraine, Russia, China, energy, and election integrity. I also helped with writing, editing and composing letters, requests, and formal documents.

What industry/job specific skills did you learn?

I learned to us IQ, a government documentation digital system, improved my knowledge of word and excel, and improved research skills and professional writing. I also made lots of professional connections and learned how to use and maintain relationships in the work place.

What are three things that you learned from this experience that could be applied to other settings?

1. Punctuality is important. There were often surprise meetings and other events that required beings ready and prepared on time, as time is very valuable to top politicians.

2. How to communicate with superiors, keeping it very professional unless they give you permission to be more informal with them, even if they address you informally.

3. I learned that you need to be willing to take whatever jobs or opportunity comes your way. This will open doors and make you valuable.

What was your favorite part of your internship?

My favorite part was being able to see my work have a direct impact on big events, such as my research on Ukraine that Senator Cotton used to make his questions in a confirmation hearing.

What was your least favorite part?

The commute on the metro takes a lot of time and is expensive, and driving isn’t much better with gas prices. Just annoying.

How did this experience affect your future goals?

It has helped me learn about government service, and I now know that I want to be a public servant. I have learned about many different types of paths to work from my friends I made, and I am excited for the future.

How did you get your internship?

I applied online and contacted a friend in my church who works in the office to ask to make sure my resume was seen by the supervisor.

How did this experience contribute to your growth?

It helped me me make professional connections and looks good on my resume. I have learned about a lot of new topics and new skills and personally made friends.

Aaron doing research on NATO at his desk in the front office.