Election season brings internship opportunities for UConn students


File- The Political Science Department can help students land internships with numerous poltical campaigns this fall. (Olivia Stenger/ The Daily Campus)

The 2018 midterm elections are fast approaching and the Political Science Department at the University of Connecticut is offering a range of internships with candidates for interested students.

Internship opportunities are available for multiple political offices in Connecticut this fall, including campaigns for governor, state legislature and secretary of the state.

Candidates that have recently reached out to UConn students with internship opportunities include Jahana Hayes for Congress, Christie Carpino for Connecticut House of Representatives and Len Suzio for State Senate.

Kimberly Bergendahl, internship coordinator for the Political Science Department, said these opportunities are open to students of all majors.

“We have a whole host of internship opportunities,” Bergendahl said.

Students can find updated information about campaign internship opportunities on UCONN POLS Internship Program Facebook page.

The Political Science Department receives advertisements directly from state political offices.

“I worry that students may think we are publicizing one party over another and that is not the case,” Bergendahl said to clarify the internship advertisements. “It just so happens that we tend to see more Democrats sending in opportunities than Republican candidates.”

Although students are unable to earn course credit for internships not approved in the add-drop period, which closed on September 10th, opportunities to take part in campaigns are continuously submitted to the Political Science Department and made available to students.

The opportunity to work on a campaign or in a political office can provide students with new skill sets, including how to be an effective fundraiser, said Bergendahl. Campaign interns come in direct contact with constituents.

“They (interns) get a better understanding of the type of issues that interest voters,” Bergendahl said.

Students who pursue an internship with political candidates will face responsibilities as they go out on the campaign trail and work on events, including overseeing and participating in fundraising, distributing campaign literature and recruiting other interns.

Third-semester political science and economics major, Spencer Kinyon, interned for Students for Carbon Dividends, a student-led climate change policy group.

“I was responsible for developing a campus engagement strategy and advising the organization on various issues related to recruitment,” Kinyon said.

According to Kinyon, the internship helped develop marketing, organizational and technological skills.

Outside of election season, the Political Science Department offers opportunities for students interested in legislative or judicial positions.

Students interested in the judiciary process can intern for positions in law firms or the State Attorney’s office. The Political Science Department also hosts opportunities for students interested in law enforcement to intern for local police departments, including the UConn Police Department and Connecticut State Police, said Bergendahl.

It is never too early for political science majors to start looking into and applying for campaign internship opportunities, Bergendahl said.

“They can start right off in their freshman year. I think that is a good stepping stone which can then help them for future internship opportunities,” Bergendahl said.

Fiona Brady is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at fiona.brady@uconn.edu.  

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