Margaret Elise Purcell

Internship with Congressman Fitzpatrick's District Office
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Margaret Elise Purcell

Majors: International Politics and Criminology

Minor: History

Hometown: Yardley, Pennsylvania, United States

How Did You Learn About This Opportunity

I was looking for an internship in my community in this field and was looking online. I knew one of the workers in Congressman Fitzpatrick's Office when I was younger and this person recommended that I apply for the internship.

During this time I learned a lot about the various agencies within government and how they interact.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my internship at Congressman Fitzpatrick’s District Office I performed a variety of tasks. The office focused on constituent work and my main job was answering the phone and recording constituent’s comments. I also answered their questions and helped them with their problems. In the office we focused on casework and were required to deal with a variety of government agencies. During this time I learned a lot about the various agencies within government and how they interact. I was also required to write letters for constituents about various bills that the Congressman had sponsored or cosponsored. This gave me greater insight into how Congress works and the processes that a bill goes through.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Prior to this experience, I learned a variety of political science concepts. However, being able to work in a political office allowed me to see how these concepts actually worked. After working in Congressman Fitzpatrick’s Office, I better understand the way these topics work and have real life experiences to tie to the knowledge that I gained. For instance, I learned more about the client-agent relationship that exists in politics for Congressman Fitzpatrick had to represent the interests of his constituents. This also led to greater understanding of the different types of representation, descriptive and substantive. The office also had to work with the State Department, which allowed me to see comparative politics especially in the way different nations judicial systems work. By working in Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office I will be able to apply my experiences not just to things I have already learned, but things I will learn in my continued education.

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

After graduating from Penn State, I intend to attend law school. From there I would like either practice law or enter politics. By working in Congressman Fitzpatrick’s Office I was able to see one aspect of the political field. I learned a lot about how a Congressman’s office work, especially one like the one I worked that focused on constituent work. Before fully committing to working in the political field, I would like to explore the legislative side of politics. The work I have done this summer allowed me to learn a lot about constituent work, but this represents only part of working in the political field.

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