Chicago, Illinois Student Interns In Durbin's Washington, DC Office

WASHINGTON – Chicago, Illinois, native Rasa Kerelis spent this summer interning for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), working behind the scenes in the Senator’s Capitol Hill office as an intern.  Each year, close to 50 interns work in Durbin’s Washington, D.C. office.

“I started my career on Capitol Hill as a college intern for Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois,” Durbin said. “I will never forget that day in February of 1966 when he agreed to hire me as an intern to work in his office.  As a student from East St. Louis, Illinois, going to work in the office of a U.S. Senator was one of the most exciting things I had ever done.  I know what a valuable experience it can be and we strive to make sure all of our students get a glimpse into the workings of the United States Senate.”

Rasa is from the Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago, and she is currently a junior at Northwestern University pursuing a degree in political science with a minor in classics. Prior to arriving in Washington, D.C., she spent a month in Lithuania interning for the European Commission. As the granddaughter of Lithuanian refugees who came to the U.S. during World War II, Rasa continues to maintain strong ties to her Lithuanian culture and community. On campus, she has worked as a research assistant for the political science department studying the European Union, serves as the Chair of Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Sexual Assault Task Force Representative for her sorority, and works at a small International Tax & Estate law firm in Evanston.

“It’s been amazing to see that even in today’s political climate, there are still those fighting to do what’s right,” Rasa said.  “Getting to see how people work hard to create comprehensive policies that work for everyone has been such a rewarding experience.  Senator Durbin has always been a personal role model of mine, and seeing how hard his staff works to conquer the tough issues gives me hope for America’s future.  I’ve learned that even the small things, like how an office interacts with constituents, can make all the difference to someone, and to me that’s truly been inspiring.”

The intern responsibilities include assisting full-time staff in responding to constituent related topics, assisting with information inquiries, attending committee and agency hearings and briefings, researching legislative issues and policy questions, and observing floor proceedings.  During that time, the students gain firsthand knowledge of the legislative process, learn about the inner-workings of the federal government, and develop valuable research skills.