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Cleo Kerama, Deakin Law Student has experienced first hand the career opportunities available for her future, through the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program (UCWIP) and is excited about converting her education into reality for her future.
Over the summer of 2012 I participated in the UCWIP, where I experienced US politics first hand as an intern on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.
UCWIP is a program that matches 12 students to US Congressional offices (both Democratic and Republican) or Congressional Commission and Committees, and also gives students the opportunity to explore the another side of politics, with 'off the Hill' activities. I was matched with the office of Congressman John Tierney of Massachusetts 6th District, a Democrat, serving on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness, the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, and the Government Oversight Committee.
I spent nine challenging and exciting weeks working with the Constituent Service, Legislative, and Press Teams in my office, on tasks ranging from constituent advocacy, legislative development, and press relations. I was able to see my studies in international studies, law and politics being played out through these activities, by attending Congressional floor debates, hearings and briefings, researching and drafting reports on issues, and just by passing through confusing tunnels of Capitol Hill!
I had the opportunity of meeting with different people and visiting intuitions which sit at the periphery of Congress but who nevertheless shape and influence the political system, including journalists from New York Times, Former Secretary of Commerce Norm Minnetta, Australian Ambassador Kim Beazely, and members of the Congressional Press Gallery, along with our trips to the US State Department, Australian Embassy and Consular General, and the UN in New York City. For a historical perspective, we travelled to Gettysburg (the sight of the Civil War), and Philadelphia (the home of the US Constitution).
This internship was a life-changing experience, through which I furthered my knowledge and perspective, formed new interests and relationships, and importantly gained confidence and sense of self. It was an excellent way of building a bridge between my studies and career, and enlightening me to the different ways I can explore my studies and interest in terms of a career. It has left me with a sense of excitement, eagerness, and self-confidence my experience to begin that next chapter which is fast approaching.