Summer in the Senate
Julia Hofheimer is one of fourteen Arkansas residents selected to intern in Senator Blanche Lincoln's Washington Senate office this summer. The five-week internship program gives students who have completed their sophomore year in college an opportunity to learn about the federal legislative process, improve their communications skills, and gain experience in a professional environment.
Hofheimer has been working closely with members of Lincoln's staff, including the constituent relations, legislative, and communications teams. "It is exciting to learn the inner workings of a political system while actually immersed in the environment itself," she says.
Interns are required to lead tours of the Capitol, which has pushed Hofheimer to face her fear of public speaking head-on and become more assertive. "The tunnels connecting the various Senate and House office buildings and the Capitol itself are a labyrinth, so my navigation skills have also improved," she says.
One day, Hofheimer had the opportunity to shadow Senator Lincoln to get a better idea of a senator's daily responsibilities. "It was so incredible to watch the Senator jump from meeting to meeting, topic to topic, without missing a beat or taking a break," she says. "It quickly became clear that being a good senator not only requires intelligence, but also incredible memory, energy, and interpersonal skills."
"It has also been powerful to read letters and e-mails from constituents who are passionate enough about the status quo to write to a senator," says Hofheimer. "It's so easy to become passive and feel disconnected from your government, so it's really nice to hear from people who believe in the system enough to participate in it."
--Heather Harden '11