Highland Park Student Interns in Durbin's Senate Office

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Highland Park resident Joey Berk will spend eight weeks interning for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), working behind the scenes in the Senator’s Capitol Hill office. Each year, close to 50 students intern in Durbin’s Washington, D.C. office. Interns process constituent requests, help with legislative duties and lead Capitol tours for Illinois residents visiting Washington. 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.

“Forty-five years ago, 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.” 

The son of Janna and Keith Berk, Joey is a rising junior at Washington University in St. Louis pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy. Berk graduated from Highland Park High School in 2009. As an intern in Sen. Durbin’s office, he is particularly interested in attending Senate committee hearings relating to national defense policy.

“I applied for this internship so that I could dip my feet into the political world,” Berk said. “Working in Sen. Durbin’s office has really provided me with the opportunity to further explore my interest in politics, and helped me gain richer understanding of the day-to-day business of a Congressional office.”

The internship program 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. Responsibilities include assisting full-time staff in responding to various 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. Internships can range from 6 weeks to 12 weeks.