United States House of Representives
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Jack Shea

Major: History, Political Science
Minor: Philosophy
Hometown: Scranton, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience through Penn State's Stanley E. Degler Washington Program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This summer I served as a legislative intern in the office of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio’s 9th district. I spent twelve weeks assisting the Congresswoman and her staff to correspond with constituents and advance legislative priorities. During my time on Capitol Hill, I ran dozens of errands, sat in on a variety of meetings, and attended major congressional hearings. Some of the highlights of my internship included collaborating on financial reform legislation, witnessing the Congressional appropriations process firsthand, and giving tours of the United States' Capitol Building to constituents.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My internship impacted me academically by making me aware of the many pressing and important issues facing the United States that often fail to capture headlines. I sat in on and participated in a variety of meetings with constituents, stakeholders, and other advocates hosted by the Congresswoman or her staff. I was confronted with the imminent ecological disaster facing the Great Lakes due to the evasive fish species known as the Asian Karp. I heard about the struggles engineers face in containing these fish, and I helped aid policymakers' efforts to craft the federal government’s response. I also helped staffers shepherd funding requests through the congressional appropriations process. I confronted the harsh funding realities facing many distressed communities that are attempting to combat the opioid drug epidemic and the changes wrought by globalization. It was fascinating to see constituents interface with their elected representative and see the issues that may not dominate the 24 hour news cycle, but do affect the daily lives of ordinary Americans.

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

My career goals are to complete undergraduate studies in history and political science, earn my juris doctorate from a top tier law school, and pursue a career in the field of law. My long-term goals are to either use my legal skills to serve the public good, maintain a private law practice, or one day run for public office. This experience impacted my career plans by galvanizing my interest in public service and providing an inside look at how the United States government works. Furthermore, my internship gave me invaluable networking experiences and allowed me to build dozens of new relationships with professionals pursuing similar career goals.

This experience impacted my career plans by galvanizing my interest in public service and providing an inside look at how the United States government works.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. The United States House of Representatives is an incredible place to intern with myriad opportunities for anyone interested in government, law, or politics.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows program impacted my experience by providing me with the resources to not only succeed but also thrive during my internship. Through the program's honors courses I developed the critical thinking and reasoning skills necessary for a fast-paced work environment like the United States Capitol. Besides honors courses, Paterno Fellows events like the weekly Lunch with Honors series made me aware of global issues that proved to be highly pertinent to my work. Furthermore, the College of the Liberal Arts' financial support allowed me to participate in this unpaid internship. An unpaid internship is a tremendous financial burden that I never thought I would be able to shoulder. However, due to the College's enrichment funds, I was able to spend my summer working and living in Washington, D.C.

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