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Multiple D.C. Internships? No Problem.

Publication Date: 12/6/2012

by Caroline Ponseti ′15

The following is Part III of a five-part series on internships in D.C. Today, writer Caroline Ponseti ’15 chats with Chip Slawson.

Chip Slawson ’14

Most students strive to complete just one internship in D.C. during the summer. Chip Slawson, a junior from Montgomery, AL, completed three. Not only did he intern in both houses of Congress, but he also had the opportunity to experience one of the outside forces acting on government. In just 11 weeks, Chip interned for his senator, his congressman, and a lobbying firm on the Hill. During his time in the office of  Sen. Jeff Session (R-AL), Chip worked under the communications director, researching stories and updating the senator’s contacts. Due to the smaller size of offices in the House of Representatives, House interns, like Chip, typically experience the entire office anatomy and contribute through mostly clerical work and by giving Capitol tours.

Throughout his time on the Hill, Chip learned the significance of networking. Many of his supervisors insisted that the people he met during the summer were more important than the work he did. “A successful internship in D.C. is really only half determined by your time in the office, and perhaps more so by how effectively you stay in touch with your newly made connections after you′ve left,” explains Chip. According to Chip’s boss, the biggest mistake an intern can make is to let himself be forgotten.

Chip is confident that his Rhodes education has prepared him to be distinguished in a job or internship. “As I found this summer, we forget that inside these gates we clear a really high bar that Rhodes sets for us to grow as students and as citizens,” says Chip, “so when we enter a workplace where most people haven′t been held to those same standards, we can naturally impress our bosses and have successful internships.”

In Part IV, Sam Brobeck ’15 talks about his role in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall.

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