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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Local internships still available through HIP

By David Servatius, Staff Writer

Katherine Pasker spent the summer doing constituent casework for Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in his Salt Lake City office.

Working as a local intern for the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Pasker, a senior majoring in economics, addressed concerns Utah residents had in the senator’s local office rather than in Washington, D.C., ranging from veteran and military affairs to Department of Corrections and local business issues.

“One of the best things about working in that office was they made it clear from the start just how much trust they put in the interns,” she said. “From day one you are given a stack of cases to work on, people to follow up with, liaisons to contact, e-mails to field. Instead of being like some internship assignments where you are getting coffee and making copies, we did the same work as the full-time caseworkers in the office.”

Pasker said the amount of responsibility for people’s lives and well-being that came with the job provided her with valuable experience as she prepares to attend law school next fall.

Students who would like to get out of the classroom and get some real-world educational experience can still apply for one of several local internships available this semester through the U Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Hinckley Intern Manager Courtney McBeth said the institute is also taking applications for Spring 2009 placements internationally and in Washington, D.C. The deadline to apply for these positions is the end of September.

McBeth said an internship is an invaluable hands-on opportunity for highly motivated students and a great résumé builder. Although the internships are all in political or government venues, she students from all majors are encouraged to apply.

“If someone is interested in going into nonprofit work, for example, it is very advantageous for them to work in a nonprofit situation, to see the day-to-day tasks that are required and to be mentored by the top people in that field,” she said.

The assignments focus on different issues such as the environment, health policy, social welfare, hard sciences and business relations.

Once placed, an intern can expect a wide variety of responsibilities including research, writing, press clipping, event planning and performing basic administrative tasks.

McBeth said that interns who have participated in a Hinckley internship in the past have ended up much more focused on their future.

“I think the students really get a better insight on their career development,” she said. “For example, they learn that they love to do journalism or they hate it. That way, instead of wasting another four years in graduate school, they know what direction they want to go.”

She said the networking opportunities available to students during an internship are also valuable and that most interns meet a variety of people in their field of interest that, in many cases, they will know for a lifetime.

Tori Ballif, a senior majoring in history, worked as a Hinckley intern from May to August in the local office of Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson, who represents Utah’s second congressional district. Like Pasker, she spent the majority of her time helping with constituent casework.

Ballif said she has been working on a research project for the past year on the political history of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, one of Matheson’s signature issues, and met several people during the time she was in his office with valuable insights on the subject.

“Helping people apply for compensation was one of the services his office offered,” Ballif said. “It was interesting to me to gain that sort of perspective and make those connections that I can hopefully later draw on as sources for my research.”

Openings are still available with the lieutenant governor’s office, the governor’s office, American Civil Liberties Union, March of Dimes, Planned Parenthood Action Center, Salt Lake County Mayor’s office, Salt Lake County Council, Disability Law Center, International Rescue Committee, Office of Ethnic Affairs, Public Employees Association and several local political campaigns.

All internships require at least a 3.0 GPA for acceptance. Those accepted earn between three and 12 credit hours depending on the assignment and must complete a research paper, book review and evaluation of their experience during the semester.

For more information, visit the Hinckley Institute of Politics Web site at

[email protected]

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