Young politicians

By By Emily Moench and By Emily Moench

By Emily Moench

Sen. Orrin Hatch handpicked two U students to work as interns in his Washington, D.C., office this semester, and the students hope the experience will help further a career in politics.

The Hinckley Institute of Politics recommended Clark Cannon, a senior majoring in political science, and Kristen Almerico, a junior in economics, for the internship.

“I welcome Kristen and Clark to my office,” Hatch said in a written statement. “This is an exciting time to be in Washington because so many high-profile issues are on the table right now.”

Almerico is currently doing research for Hatch’s staff and is in charge of health and economic issues.

“I work with the economic adviser in the office, and I have had to do a lot of research and reports for him,” Almerico said.

Cannon aids Hatch’s press staff and military adviser. He travels with Hatch to different press events and interviews.

“I am a really big news junkie, watching C-SPAN and CNN and reading newspapers everyday,” Cannon said. “The most recent in-your-face news is what really sparks my interest, and now I get to live it.”

The students were chosen because of their GPAs, extra-curricular activities and other accomplishments.

“(Sen. Hatch) is the chair of the finance committee, so I was chosen for a different reason than most political science majors,” Almerico said.

“I have a good understanding of the political process, and I have made myself aware of current issues,” Cannon said. “I think Sen. Hatch’s office is a good place to use that knowledge, since he is such a prominent figure.”

The interns have had to adjust to a different political climate in Washington.

“The attitude and atmosphere is so much more intense,” said Cannon.

Cannon also said acclimating to the social and political culture in Washington is difficult because it is not something he experienced in Salt Lake City.

However, classes and professors at the U helped Almerico and Cannon prepare to work for Hatch.

“The different political issues we discussed and debated (in class) and the different views of liberal versus conservative (helped) because that is all you see back here,” Almerico said.

Cannon said he was helped by “professors and teachers who taught me how the government works and basic knowledge to be able to have a part and contribute to the political process back here.”

Kirk Jowers, director of the institute of politics, also helped the students get the internships.

Cannon plans to go to law school next year. He said he hopes his experience in Washington, D.C., will help him in the process, while Almerico said she wants to use the experience to get a better idea of what she wants to go into.

The institute of politics internship has helped previous U students get jobs in Hatch’s office, such as Micah Elggren, who interned with Hatch in 2003, went on to law school at George Washington University and is now a law clerk with Hatch’s judiciary committee staff, according to Jared Whitley, press assistant to Hatch’s office.