A Congressional Intern Returns Effusive and Wiser

Krystal Joseph with Us Congressman AL Green during her summer internship at his office in Washington, DC.

Krystal Joseph with Us Congressman AL Green during her summer internship at his office in Washington, DC.

By Krystal Ann Joseph

SUGAR LAND: I am a junior at St. Edward’s University in Austin and am majoring in International Business, with my eyes set on Law School. I have been actively involved in various organizations, both on campus and off campus, in various leadership positions. Last year this time I spent my summer studying abroad in France and then traveling around Europe for two months, an experience which was a life-changing.

Every summer, offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC are flooded with resumes of college students eager for an internship position that will expose them to the legislative process. This past summer, I had the privilege of interning for Congressman Al Green, (D) of the 9th Texas District, which is covers a large portion of Houston, and spent some time learning about the U.S. House of Representatives. The internship has opened my eyes to new viewpoints and new walks of life.

I came into this program with a very open mind, and an eagerness to learn and left with a skill set I hope to apply effectively. Every day was a learning experience, not just in terms of public policy and politics, but also about knowing myself. I stayed at the George Washington University dorms for two months and learnt to get around on my own using public transport. I even experienced the Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks at the Mall.

The internship was a most memorable experience. I learnt about the legislative process first-hand, analyzed contemporary issues, like the Zimmerman case, Texas Voter ID laws, passing Proposition 8 and the Farm Bill; and interacted with influential members of Congress, like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Vice-Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan.

Congressman Al Green serves on the House Committee of Financial Services where he holds a ranking member position in the Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations. Observing the Sub-Committee in action was especially rewarding because I got to understand the in’s and outs of how decisions about fiscal issues are made in Congress.

I attended briefings and hearings; did administrative work; took constituent calls and handled constituent letters; compiled legislative data and did research for staff members and attended a series of keynote speakers. I even created a portfolio which included a community action plan essay on Youth Financial Literacy in the Houston community.

Everyone on Capitol Hill comes from a different walk of life, a different state, and a different Life journey and I was able to learning from what people had to say. I gained invaluable work experience on the Hill, lasting friendships and a new network. And from all this experience, I got an in-depth analysis of current issues, a more detailed briefing on the legislative process and the many other functions of a Congressional office. And most importantly, as everything good that happens takes time, I learned to be patient.

I hope to apply these lessons as motivation to help improve my own community. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank the office of Congressman Al Green, my parents; the Youth Leadership Development Program and Indo-American Political Action Committee for helping me get this internship. The internship was a priceless experience which I will never forget.