A political science student obtains an internship with the American representative Joseph Morelle


This summer, Kaitlin Sommer, a third-year political science student, moved from her hometown of Rochester, NY, to Washington, DC. She secured an internship for U.S. Representative Joseph Morelle, who represents New York’s 25th congressional district. Sommer, who is in the honors program, is the first recipient of the Kristine and John Simmons Public Policy Scholar Internship Fund, which helps College of Liberal Arts students offset internship costs.

What kind of work do you do during your internship?

I had the chance to experience a lot of different things during my internship. I do typical intern duties like answering the phone, running errands, and responding to emails. The internship with MP Morelle’s office is unique, however, because I was able to work a lot with the legislative assistants on their various projects. I worked with them on research and wrote briefing notes, and even got to attend meetings with the congressman.

What made you interested in working in government?

I became interested in working in government through many personal experiences. I was born with a spinal cord injury which caused me to use a wheelchair for more independence. Also, my parents are deaf and I speak ASL fluently. These experiences led me to become a natural advocate and want to change things.

How has your university studies influenced your current work?

I have been fortunate to see government through an academic lens and now through entirely practical experience. Taking courses at RIT such as Cyberpolitics, International Political Theory, and Cybersecurity Policy and Law has allowed me to develop a strong foundational understanding of some of the theories of political science. Having that experience when I first came to DC helped me understand why things happen the way they do.

What are your professional aspirations?

In the future, my career aspirations are to hopefully go to law school and then work in government or the advocacy space. This internship helped me see the wide range of jobs available in government and allowed me to think about which ones I could explore further. While I haven’t quite narrowed it down to a specific career aspiration, I look forward to doing more internships in the future to help me do just that.

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