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PoliSci Students Follow Political Beliefs Into Summer Internships
Leah Popple
Lauren Burkhart

August 07, 2018

Several political science students are spending their summers interning in the offices of state and U.S. legislators.

Senior Leah Popple, of Shavertown, Pa., is interning in the Wilkes-Barre office of U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Republican, working closely with constituent advocates, casework issues, and on policy memos and policy research.

"It was crucial for me to work for someone who shares the same beliefs and morals as me," Popple said. "Having similar political ideology as Sen. Toomey makes the work I do for him more enjoyable and exciting."

Popple is learning the differences between the work done in Toomey's D.C. office versus his regional offices.

"The D.C. office only focuses on what is happening in D.C., but the regional office has to be aware of what is happening in D.C. and all of Pennsylvania," she said. "Working in the regional office is a more comprehensive experience. I still get a flavor of public policy, but working in the regional office requires more diversity in skills and understanding of public policy."

Sophomore Lauren Burkhart, of Bloomsburg, Pa., is interning in the office of her hometown legislator, state Rep. David Millard, R-109.

"I know Rep. Millard has done wonderful things for my town in the past and I wanted to experience what it takes to get those things accomplished," Burkhart said.

Burkhart has been spending most of her time behind the scenes, learning how to respond to constituent issues. She has also had the opportunity to accompany Millard to the capitol building in Harrisburg where she was given a private tour and served as a guest page on the House floor during session.

"I also attended a press conference about a floodwall extension for the town of Bloomsburg," Burkhart said.

Sophomore Morgan Dubbs, of Julian, Pa., is working on the re-election campaign for state Sen. Jake Corman, R-34, of Bellefonte, under the mentorship of campaign manager Steve Miller.

"I have been working alongside Steve these past couple of weeks, attending functions throughout the Senator's district, planning for parades and other events," Dubbs said. "I am learning so much about the inner workings of both state and local governments. It is so interesting hearing about the experiences all of these people have had in their time working in the political sphere."

Popple and Burkhart agree that they are enjoying getting a closer look at how government works.

"I get to work with all levels of government, nonprofits and organizations," Popple said. "I get to be on the frontlines of the issues facing Pennsylvania citizens."

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