Senator Crapo’s Office to Recruit University of Idaho Students for Internships

Tuesday, February 10 2009

Feb. 10, 2009 Written by Jessica Berwick MOSCOW, Idaho – Senator Mike Crapo’s interest in politics was spurred by an internship he had in the 1970s on Capitol Hill during hearings about the Watergate break-in. University of Idaho students will have an opportunity in mid-February to do informational interviews in consideration for their own internship experience, working in Crapo’s Washington, D.C. office. Crapo’s Internship Coordinator Rachel Johnson will visit the University of Idaho Moscow Campus to recruit interns for this summer and next fall on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and Wednesday, Feb. 18. Johnson will present a first-hand overview to several University of Idaho classes about what it is like to have an internship in Washington, D.C.; she was an intern, hired into a full-time position by the senator. Crapo’s office offers interns opportunities to gain experience in four distinct areas: administration, communications, legislation and scheduling. “We’re seeking students in all areas of study,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “Capitol Hill opportunities aren’t just for political science students. Marketing and management play a large role in what we do.” University of Idaho senior John “Chris” Shirts, a political science major, will assist Johnson throughout her visit. Shirts interned for Crapo during the summer of 2008, working primarily in administrative areas. “It was interesting to be there during the economy change, when gas prices were skyrocketing,” said Shirts. “I was amazed with the mass of mail received and the high call volume.” Shirts pointed out that sometimes students overlook opportunities in Washington, D.C., for fear of being tasked with opening mail and answering phones all day. “I met several interns from other states whose primary job was to open mail all day. Crapo’s office isn’t like that,” Shirts noted. “I got to go to legislative meetings, give tours of the Capitol, attend committee hearings and work in the office responding to the citizens of Idaho.” Crapo’s office also is seeking students with strong communication and writing skills. Johnson mentioned that interns have the opportunity help write legislation. “It’s not uncommon for interns to meet political leaders; they are in our office all the time for meetings and it is important that interns can communicate effectively with a variety of constituents,” said Johnson. “Regardless of whether a student decides on a career track on a legislators staff, the experience and networking opportunities the student will gain as a congressional intern will be a major asset in future job searches,” said Jim Ekins, Service-Learning and Internship coordinator in the university's Career and Professional Planning office. “This kind of opportunity is something students should take advantage of, especially during these tough economic times.” Interns are paid a small stipend of $1,050 per month. In addition to their stipend and priceless experience, transportation costs are subsidized for interns. “Living in D.C. is an experience in and of itself,” said Johnson. “There is always something going on, a new place to visit or political function to attend. We work to keep interns involved inside and outside of the office.” This past semester, all of Crapo’s interns were able to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Meeting Barack Obama and the Governor of the Virgin Islands were two of the most memorable moments during Shirts’ internship. “We got to be involved, a lot. Crapo’s whole staff cared for us as interns and wanted our input," he said. "Rachel even set up special outings for all of the Idaho interns. One day, we went on a VIP tour of the Department of the Interior and another day we went paddle-boating in the Jefferson Tidal Basin Pool.” During his internship experience, Shirts was most surprised by the difference in work pace compared to Idaho. “My advice to future interns would be go to D.C. and be ready to work; the East Coast is a different work environment, but it’s very rewarding. I wish I could have stayed longer,” he said. In addition to recruiting interns during her visit to Moscow, Johnson will host an informal presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, in the Idaho Commons Whitewater Room from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17. This presentation is open to the public and internship information will be available. Internship applications are available on Crapo’s Web site and are due by April 1 to be considered for this summer and fall. Johnson will be available for informational interviews with students in the Career and Professional Planning department, located on the 3rd floor of the Idaho Commons. Student interested in setting up a time to meet with Johnson should contact the Career and Professional Planning department at (208) 885-6121.
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About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit Contact: Jessica Berwick, Career and Professional Planning, (208) 885-2100,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit