Greg Winston '26 with Rep. Joe Morelle (NY-25) in Morelle's Washington, D.C. office.
Communications and Marketing office student writer Greg Winston ’26 tells about his summer in Washington, D.C. , interning for Rep. Joseph Morelle, and offers some advice for students considering an internship in politics.  

Over the years, politics have always piqued my interest, so last March I decided to take my roommate’s advice and apply for internships on Capitol Hill. I landed a summer position working for Rep. Joseph Morelle (NY-25/Rochester), which offered an opportunity for me to grow both personally and professionally. Today, one thing is clear: I could not have imagined a better investment of my time.

Here are five key takeaways from my summer for those considering a similar experience:

  1. Life on Capitol Hill is a whirlwind of activity, marked by the beat of floor votes, constituent visits, and legislative meetings. As an intern, your work should simplify that of your superiors. Writing policy-oriented memos, drafting biographies for VIP guests, and responding to constituents through legislative form letters are some of the responsibilities you should expect. Staffers will always appreciate you lending a helping hand for additional tasks. Most importantly, being a team player is more essential than being a shining star; know your place within the office.
  1. Every day, constituents will call the office to express their concerns, book tours of various Washington, D.C., historical sites, or offer praise for the congressman’s work. As a first point of contact, interns learn soft skills critical in any professional environment. Effective communication, open mindedness, active listening, and maintaining professionalism during uncomfortable situations are traits you get to sharpen while on the Hill.
  1. Serving constituents’ needs is a priceless experience you get as an intern. One of my most memorable experiences was receiving, boxing, and shipping an American flag for a 100-year-old WWII Rochester veteran who served in Normandy. We were even able to fly it over the Capitol in honor of his dedication to our nation! Moreover, walking constituents through the halls of the Capitol Rotunda and showing them the bust of Rochester native Susan B. Anthony alongside other influential suffragettes was equally profound. Seeing how proud guests felt by having Rochester represented within the walls of our nation’s legislative branch was unparalleled.
  1. Knowing everything is impossible. Politics touches all aspects of life, from health insurance to environmental sustainability. Congressional hearings and legislative briefings give you a chance to expand your understanding. For instance, despite beginning my internship interested in foreign policy, I attended hearings on plant biostimulants, college spies, IRS tax regulation, and food insecurity. When completing my internship project, I even focused on developing solutions to addressing recent spikes in toxic wildfire smoke within the district.
  1. Finally, sharing an elevator with AOC or Chuck Schumer might leave you starstruck, it’s important to remember that your favorite politician is there, just like you are, to do a job. Granted, taking a selfie together is an unforgettable experience, but the interaction should not hold up the congressperson’s busy schedule. Three months on the Hill drastically changed my understanding of politicians for the better.

I’m so proud to have worked for Rep. Morelle. I can’t wait to use these newly acquired insights on College Hill this fall semester.

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