Chicago, Illinois Student Interns in Durbin's Washington, DC Senate Office

WASHINGTON – Chicago, Illinois native Johanna Mintz spent two months this summer interning for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in his Capitol Hill office. Each year, close to 50 interns work in Durbin’s Washington, D.C. office. Interns process constituent requests and calls, help with legislative duties, and lead Capitol tours for Illinois residents visiting Washington, D.C. During that time, they gain firsthand knowledge of the legislative process, learn about the inner-workings of the federal government, and develop valuable research skills.
“I started my career on Capitol Hill as a college intern for Senator Paul Douglas (D-IL),” Senator 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. It was one of the most exciting things I had ever done; a student from East St. Louis, Illinois was going to work in the office of a U.S. Senator. 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.”
Johanna grew up in the Lakewood Balmoral District in Chicago, Illinois. She is a student at Georgetown University, where she studies Government. As a high school senior, Johanna traveled to Washington, D.C. to see the oral arguments for the Supreme Court Case Hall v. Florida, which sparked her interest in Constitutional Law and Judiciary issues. Johanna is also interested in gun control issues, as she witnessed the effects of existing loopholes on her own hometown.
“Working in Senator Durbin's office this summer has provided me with a deep understanding of the legislative process, specifically with regard to how all the moving parts of Congress come together to impact change,” said Johanna. “I have learned that while the process is often complicated, there remains a strong attempt to make it as transparent as possible, especially through live-streams and open briefings and hearings.”
The internship is designed to provide interns with experience in the core functions of a Senate office and allow them to gain a better understanding of the federal legislative process. Their responsibilities include assisting full-time staff in responding to constituent requests, assisting with information inquiries, attending committee and agency hearings and briefings, researching legislative issues and policy questions, observing floor proceedings, and attending meetings related to specific legislation.