Wilmette, Illinois, Student Interns In Durbin’s Washington, D.C. Office

WASHINGTON – Wilmette, Illinois, resident Elizabeth Smith spent this fall interning for U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), working behind the scenes in the Senator’s Capitol Hill office as an intern.

“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.”

A native of Wilmette, Elizabeth is a junior at Georgetown University majoring in government and minoring in economics and public health.  Her passions for policy, governance, and leadership largely began in student council at Loyola Academy and through her high school philanthropy efforts for Lurie Children’s Hospital.  This past summer, Elizabeth interned for Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy in Chicago. Through this experience, she gained a closer look at state-level policymaking and constituent advocacy, as well as a broader understanding of the interaction between state and federal agencies and legislators.  She has a budding interest in diplomacy and health policy. 

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work for Senator Durbin this fall,” Elizabeth said.  “I have a great appreciation for the Durbin team’s commitment to helping Illinoisans, especially in the field of health policy where I was tasked. The few months in this internship have not only been energizing and impactful, but have also significantly shaped my ambitions and career objectives.”

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.