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

WASHINGTON – Chicago, Illinois, native Mariel Turner spent this fall 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.”

Mariel is currently a second year law student at George Washington University (GWU) Law School.  She is specializing in constitutional law and civil rights, as well as litigation and judicial process.  Mariel received her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University in 2016, where she majored in African American studies and sociology with a minor in cultural anthropology.  Prior to law school, Mariel worked as a litigation paralegal at a Washington, D.C. law firm, and enjoyed working on criminal jury trial cases.  At GWU, she is an active member of BLSA and volunteers as a case screener with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, an organization committed to preventing and correcting the conviction of innocent people from the greater Washington, D.C. area.  

“I have most enjoyed working on Senator Durbin’s Judiciary Committee team, especially in this political climate,” Mariel said.  “It is amazing to see how people remain dedicated to tackling the various issues facing the nation, not just what makes the headlines.  I have long admired Senator Durbin’s willingness to champion the issues he’s passionate about to secure a better future for Americans across the country.  Seeing how hard the staff works on a daily basis to support the Senator’s goals has been inspiring, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the team.”

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.