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

WASHINGTON – Springfield, Illinois, native Mackenzi Matthews 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.”

Mackenzi has always been interested in the social sciences, specifically history.  When she was younger, she volunteered with her twin sister and grandfather at Lincoln’s New Salem and at Lincoln’s Tomb.  Her love of history over time naturally grew into a love of politics, and Mackenzi now studies political science, public policy, and international relations at University of Illinois at Springfield.  Prior to interning in Durbin’s Washington, D.C. office, Mackenzi interned at the Illinois State Board of Elections.

“Being able to see how a legislative office operates has been a dream of mine,” said Mackenzi.  “Getting to stand right next to federal law makers and occasionally being able to ask questions has been an amazing experience.  Washington, D.C. operates a lot differently than the way it is portrayed in the news, and seeing the legislative process firsthand has been a real eye opener.  Overall, it was one of the most interesting and exciting experiences of my life.”

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.