Name: Alex Anacki
Hometown: Sarasota, FL
What is your major? Political Science and International Relations
Where did you intern? Office of U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
What is your title? Legislative Intern
How did you get your internship? I applied to 15 internships on the Hill and got two interviews, one of which was this one, in Rep. Charlie Crist’s office. Getting an internship on the Hill is a hard process and really requires that you build up and utilize your professional network.
What did you do there? My work included constituent services (answering calls, writing letters, providing tours) and policy research.
What projects did you work on? Our largest project was to send a large quantity of letters to constituents in the district about Rep. Crist’s legislative priorities and the work he had accomplished. My fellow interns and I worked to print the letters and process them through a letter folding machine so we could do it as efficiently as possible. It was a big project and took us two to three weeks to complete.
How does your internship connect back to your coursework? I had the opportunity to research bills in the form of written memos for the congressman, and additionally wrote letters to constituents outlining legislative priorities. I gained a better understanding of federal policy, the process of how bills progress from offices to committees to the House floor and eventually to the president, and the different interest groups and organizations at play in D.C.
What is the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship? Seeing major figures like (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and Rep. (Alexandria) Ocasio-Cortez and knowing that I worked in the very same halls as them was very, very cool. It never got old to walk past notable members of Congress and know that I had the unique privilege of working to make our government function in a meaningful way, just as they do.
What have you enjoyed most about your experience? I enjoyed meeting people in D.C., whether it was in our office or from the greater FIU community. D.C. is an excellent place to network and learn more about how to advance within your career. I think one of the most important parts of a degree in the realm of politics is the personal connection aspect, because politics is ultimately the art of working with other people to achieve better legislative outcomes for the general public.
What have you learned about yourself? I learned that I have fewer answers to the traditional “what do you want to do with your life?” question than I thought I did prior to my internship. The fields of political science and international relations are full of opportunities, and I think it’s important to open yourself to new opportunities and find your niche. I’m just beginning to work on finding mine, even after getting my first internship in the field three years ago on Hillary Clinton’s campaign!
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Have faith, stay patient and follow up regularly. One of my greatest frustrations with the process of interning on Capitol Hill is that it is not nearly as accessible to students without their own built-in connections as it should be. So many students from advantaged backgrounds have the opportunity to get internships without putting in as much work as students who are disadvantaged in some way. FIU in DC is a wonderful tool, and if you don’t have the network or prior experience, they will help put you on the same level as students who have been working to get on the Hill for quite some time.
How has the position increased your professional confidence? This position opened me up to critically view the way young people in positions like internships are perceived, and analyze how that should evolve. Young people have immense value, and we should consistently remind ourselves of that truth. I know that I am capable of producing good work and providing a unique perspective no matter where I am, and I owe that confidence in part to being in an environment where interns are everywhere and it’s important to find ways to stand out.
How has the internship expanded your professional network? I made sure to meet lots of people from FIU, from my high school, and from the broader community. I only wish I started doing so sooner!