Winnetka Student Interns In Durbin's Senate Office

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Winnetka resident Colton Staab will spend nine 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.” 


Staab is pursuing a dual major in economics and international studies at Yale University, as part of the Ezra Stiles College. He graduated from New Trier Township High School in 2008. As an intern in Sen. Durbin’s office, he is particularly interested in helping to create economic incentives for the production of environmentally-friendly technology, and will be assisting staff with constituent correspondence on a variety of issues, including energy and the environment. Staab is one of 24 interns from around the country working in Sen. Durbin’s office during two summer sessions.

“One day, in the span of two minutes, I walked by Sen. John McCain and rode the Capitol subway with Sen. John Kerry,” Staab said. “The amount you can learn just by being here is incredible. It’s really an amazing opportunity.”

The internship program is designed to provide interns with experience in the core functions of 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 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.