Rising senior with a passion for politics lands internships with California State Assembly, U.S. Congress
Students at Centre College are known for their ambition and strong work ethic, and often this means that they create their own opportunities while pursuing their aspirations. Taking her own initiative and following her passion for politics, Avery Williams ’15 landed two internships this summer with notable California politicians. Williams spent the first part of the summer in Sacramento, Calif., as a legislative intern for California State Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, and currently she is in Washington, D.C., where she is serving as a congressional intern for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (both pictured above).
The international studies major from Bakersfield, Calif., says her interest in human rights and global affairs motivated her to seek these internship opportunities.
“I looked into many different avenues that would give me experience in how government and politics interact to develop policies and laws at a state, national, and international level,” Williams explains.
Williams applied for an internship with each politician and was ultimately offered both positions. As a result, she has had double the exposure to the realm of politics and has been able to contribute to legislation at the state and federal levels.
Working under Assemblywoman Grove, Williams was immersed in her home state’s legislative process.
“Researching various bills and responding to constituent inquiries was a daily function,” says Williams. “One of the special projects I was given included researching and writing about the history of teacher tenure and offering recommendations for how the government should respond to constituents’ concerns that tenure was negatively affecting the education of children.”
Williams even attended Assembly floor sessions and kept a record of how other members voted.
She performs similar duties for House Majority Leader McCarthy, though she has also attended hearings and committee meetings pertaining to matters of international importance. Several weeks ago she attended a Foreign Affairs Committee meeting concerning human rights in North Korea, and more recently, she sat in on subcommittee meeting regarding the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. She was also tasked with writing a treatise addressing the Ebola crisis and the responses of the international community.
“I am particularly interested in how our government responds to crises internationally and works with other nations to resolve them,” she says.
In addition, Williams has been working directly with McCarthy’s constituents, listening and responding to their concerns.
“The most rewarding aspect of these internships has been learning what issues are most important to the constituents, and in most cases, being able to answer questions, resolve their issues and work with governmental agencies on their behalf,” reports Williams. “It was also rewarding to see how passionate politicians are to serve their constituents and country, and how hard they work to represent the citizens of our country.”
Williams had her first taste of politics when she volunteered for the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate, the second vice presidential debate the College has hosted. Williams also credits her coursework at Centre as first-rate preparation for her internships.
“The classes I have taken in government, international studies, global commerce and economics have especially proved to be extremely useful,” she says.
Williams is now well acquainted with the inner workings of the country’s political sphere and welcomes the possibility of one day making a career in it.
“I find the world of politics exciting and intriguing, and it definitely keeps me on my toes,” she says. “I can see myself working in some capacity within the world of politics and government.”
by Caitlan Cole