My love of all things political continued the day of the Iowa-Wisconsin game (we lost but that is beside the point). I skipped the game to head out to Des Moines for my internship with Congressman Dave Loebsack’s campaign. I drove out with the finance director of the campaign and helped set up the event in downtown Des Moines. (Fun fact: I’ve also never been to Des Moines before. I do plan to visit some friends who go to Drake but it looked gorgeous). It was somewhat well attended. Our surprise guest was Governor Martin O’Malley, who previously was running for the Democratic nomination against Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. He talked to us about getting out the vote and continuing to support our local Democrats like Dave Loebsack. (final fun fact: Congressman Loebsack is currently the only Democratic congressman from Iowa).
I’ll leave you with this great picture of Governor O’Malley and I:
Much like my student employment search over a year ago, the internship search has certainly been a trip. To start off, the University of Iowa has a number of resources to aid students in a job or internship search. There’s the Pomerantz Career Center and the Job & Internship Fair. The career center will help you with anything from resumes, cover letters, and letters of introduction to interview prep and practice. Not to mention, they are a great resource if you do not know where to start. The Career Center also puts on the Job & Internship Fair which pulls over a 150+ employers and all of the graduate schools from the University of Iowa.
Due to my own blunders, I have not been able to attend the Job and Internship Fair during my semesters here. It is held once a semester, always on a Wednesday, and usually from 11AM-4PM.
And I always have class.
The fair is one of the more traditional ways of finding an internship. Being a political science major and being subscribed to student organization emails, the UDemocrats presented an interesting opportunity: Congressman Dave Loebsack’s Iowa City office was still searching for another intern. It had a minimal time requirement (~10 hours), unpaid, and purely made to gain experience.
While the unpaid part may sound disappointing, it’s the experience part that is key. There are thousands of stories of college graduates who have never held a job and are struggling to find work because employers want experience. The internship sounded more than okay to me: it hit my interest in politics, my desire to gain experience working within a political office, and it was something I could put on my resume if given the job. So I applied. All I had to do was send in my resume and wait.
Luckily, I received a reply from their staff within a day. They wanted an interview and offered up some potential dates and times.
I dressed in my best business casual and went out to meet a member of their staff for the interview. It was rather open ended. They wanted to know why I wanted the internship, what my relevant experience was (thankfully, I had volunteered to canvass neighborhoods for the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to to the caucus), and any details about myself or experiences that would make me a beneficial intern. Between my experiences of canvassing and my involvement with No Labels, I had plenty to talk about and use to sell myself. And I did it successfully. By the end of the interview, I was offered the position as an intern. Now, within my first week, I’ve done a little bit of work for them and I’m excited to see where this experience takes me.
I’ve previously talked about No Labels, an organization that I head here on campus. I’m talking about it again because in the past 48 hours I participated in a really cool opportunity. They offered to their college leaders: the chance to go to Manchester, New Hampshire for a one of a kind event.
First quick recap: No Labels, is a non-partisan organization that wants bipartisanship between the two major parties. We also want support for a National Strategic Agenda, which encompasses four goals: Create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years; Secure Social Security & Medicare for another 75 years; Balance the federal budget by 2030; Make America energy secure by 2024. Goals everyone can agree on, right? No Labels seeks to achieve this by first awarding a No Labels Seal of Approval to whatever politicians vow to start work on the National Strategic Agenda within the first 30 days of being in office. The Seal of Approval also lets voters know, which politicians are onboard and ready to tackle America’s problems and the gridlock.
Now onto my opportunity: The No Labels Problem Solver Convention.The national organization flew myself and about fifty other college leaders out to Manchester, New Hampshire to teach us about being college leaders, spreading the word, and making an impact on campus. But that was only the first day. The second day we were there to witness first hand 8 candidates of both parties for the 2016 presidential race take the stage to speak to us about HOW they would tackle America’s problems and the continuous gridlock in Washington D.C. We got free t-shirts and plenty of available swag and got to experience perhaps a once in a college lifetime event. We listened, cheered, and questioned Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and John Kasich with the residents of New Hampshire and neighboring states throughout the day. There were also panelists, senators, and governors from all over the U.S. (Side note: Have you ever had the chance to meet Jeff Danielson? He’s in the Iowa Senate and is responsible for the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. If you ever do meet him, he is the nicest guy!)
I learned a lot from the trip:
No Labels is one of the coolest organizations I’ve been a part of
I can’t wait to do more work on campus to get our local chapter out of our toddler stage and spreading the word about bipartisanship and being a #ProblemSolver
It is very possible to ride four airplanes in about 45 hours in three different states and only sleep on one of those planes
The networking opportunities that are available with more local politicians and even higher up are limitless
Keep an eye out at any slightly major political event because there might be a few celebrities lurking (Like maybe a certain DEA agent from Breaking Bad?)
Passion, commitment, and hard work can bring about anything you set your mind to. No Labels is a grassroots organization that started only five years ago and they’re staging big events with even bigger names, have their own caucus (Problem Solver Caucus), and currently have a bill on the floor in Congress about the National Strategic Agenda.