UCDC Spring 2023: Understanding Political & Cultural Life in DC through Observation & Communication

March 6, 2023

Currently, I am an intern with the Washington Office of Congresswoman Matsui, who represents California’s 7th Congressional district encompassing the Sacramento and Elk Grove area. As a legislative intern, I am responsible for responding to constituent mail, conducting legislative research, answering constituent inquiries, and other administrative tasks. Due to my specific policy interest in environment and energy policy, the office has assigned specific tasks based on these interests. Some of my projects include researching EPA rulemaking, attending hearings related to natural resources, and responding to constituents’ environmental concerns. Along with learning more about the climate sector and government policy, I engage with constituents on a daily basis. Because Congress can be difficult to understand, I feel proud to serve my community back in California by communicating Congress’s operations and the Congresswoman’s voting record back to the district. Accordingly, I am grateful that this opportunity has also crystalized my understanding of how Congress and other government entities operate through research and direct observation. I have also learned that working in DC is what you make of it: networking is extremely important to gain awareness of other career opportunities and resources. For instance, Congressional staff frequently reach out to one another for “coffee chats'' to establish professional relationships and find a sense of community outside their offices. 

Outside of my internship, I frequently explore Washington and the surrounding metro area. As a student studying Political Science and History, I have prized visiting DC’s numerous museums, which offer a diversity of historical exhibitions. Furthermore, Washington DC’s central location and reliable transport network is extremely convenient. Its public transit system allows convenient access to almost anywhere in the city. I have particularly enjoyed Washington’s parks, especially Rock Creek and Meridian Park. Because of DC’s location, I have also visited places outside the District with friends like Alexandria’s old town, Great Falls, the Potomac River, and Baltimore. Additionally, I look forward to visiting Philadelphia and New York City in the coming weeks. With the support of the Matsui Center, I am extremely grateful for this professional and personal opportunity in Washington, DC.