August 07, 2018

Austin Park is spending his summer in a unique internship—with the Office of the Sergeant at Arms in the U.S. Senate.

Park works with the doorkeepers, the individuals who make sure the Senate continues to have sessions and who protect the senators.

“Working with the doorkeepers means that I’m in the Capitol building making sure senators get on the floor when they need to speak and vote, and working with the public in the Senate gallery,” Park said.

When the first Congress convened in 1789, the Office of Doorkeeper was established to keep members in the Capitol long enough to begin the business of government and to control public access to the Senate sessions. Later, when the sessions were open to the public, the doorkeeper was responsible for maintaining order on the floor of the Senate and in the galleries. The title of Sergeant at Arms was added in 1798 to reflect the expanded administrative duties of the position.

The Office of the Sergeant at Arms is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, as well as protection of the members themselves.

Park is a sophomore business administration major from Arlington, Va. Though he hopes to pursue a career on Wall Street, he was intrigued when a friend brought this internship opportunity to his attention.

“I wanted to do this internship because it was a résumé booster, and I thought it would be an amazing experience,” Park said.

In the course of his internship, Park has met Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

He’s also been able to ascend to the dome of the U.S. Capitol and to the Speaker’s Balcony.

“I think this internship prepares me for future careers because of the connections I’ve made and the skills that I’ve bettered like public speaking, public relations, and being able to manage a large group of people,” Park said.