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Brandon Purnell

 
Internship with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee & Congressman Bill Shuster
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Brandon Purnell

Major: International Politics
Minor: Security and Risk Analysis
Hometown: Wells Tannery, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I have lived in Pennsylvania's 9th Congressional District for my entire life. For most of my life, Congressman Bill Shuster has been my Representative in Congress. Many Congressional offices offer internships, and as a student interested in a career in public service, I was excited to apply to work with my Congressman in my nation's capital. I applied on Shuster's website for a summer internship during the spring semester, but most Representatives also offer positions during the fall and spring semesters.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my time with Congress, I prepared over 500 amendments for Congressmen [...], sorted and sent over 630 items of confidential mail, and fielded over 200 phone calls.

This internship was such an amazing, varied experience! I was elated to be working with quite a few Penn-Staters he employed with his professional staff, including a couple other interns. Congressman Shuster is the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, so I was able to see firsthand the Committee as well as the Congressman's personal office. During my time with Congress, I prepared over 500 amendments for Congressmen during work with House Transportation & Infrastructure, sorted and sent over 630 items of confidential mail, and fielded over 200 phone calls. It was a busy time, but there's really nothing else like working in D.C.!

How did this experience impact you academically?

Working in Congress provided me with a first-hand context to many of the concepts I had covered in my courses. The House T&I Committee handles so many different things, from FEMA to airlines to pipelines to international trade. The context was broad enough that even a more internationally-focused political science student such as myself was able to appreciate the global reach of American transportation. We have the most planes, roadways, and rail in the world here in the United States and the world and its goods travel on them.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I've always been interested in a career in public service, and having been able to live and work in Washington D.C. has solidified this desire. It's a wonderful place to live and work, with so much to see and do and so much opportunity for young professionals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes! If you're a US citizen, you have a representative in Congress, and chances are they're looking for interns. If you want to see the United States government at work first hand, you can't get any closer than working in Congress. There's nothing like working in D.C., there's so much to see and do- even if you're a workaholic like I had been, there's so much to do within walking distance of the Capitol!

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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