Finding A Community In and Out of the Office

As my internship nears its end, I find myself reflecting more and more about what I’ve learned during my time here. What I will remember the most is the real-world experience I gained, which made me want to come back for more, maybe even as an Assembly or Senate fellow. Whether it was meeting with committee staff or participating in staff briefings with my Member, I got a glimpse of what life after college could be like, and I really liked the idea of it. For example, I was able to sit in on a staff briefing for the Assembly Labor Committee for a hearing that was going to deal with a few controversial bills including SB 3, which would increase the minimum wage. I then relayed the committee chair’s recommendations to my Chief of Staff and Member. I always knew I had an interest in labor issues, but actually sitting in on the meetings affirmed my interest in a way that nothing else could. I even got to put a bill across the desk. It was an Assembly Joint Resolution that called upon Congress to provide 15,000 visas to highly skilled South Korean nationals. I have also gotten to do bill research that I hope will turn into actual legislation sometime after I leave, such as a tax credit for senior citizen renters.

The second thing I’ll remember is the relationships that I developed with my co-workers and the other Cal-in-Sac fellows. It was great to work in an office where I had a good relationship with everyone, from the other interns to the Member himself. My supervisors looked out for me personally and professionally, whether we were just sitting down discussing the events of the day or if they were asking me about my professional interests and helping me set up meetings with committee consultants who could point me in the right direction. I hope to stay in contact with them long past this summer and hope to work with many of them again. In terms of the other fellows, it was great to always have people to debrief with on the light rail after work or to always have someone to go to an event with because it was likely that at least one person in the program shared the same interest as you. It would be great if some of us, through UCDC or Cal in the Capital, could have a reunion in DC next year!

Sophie Khan is a UC Berkeley junior studying political science and public policy. She is interning in the office of Assemblymember Kansen Chu as a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow.