Category: Academics, Student Experience

Title: I Interned in Nancy Pelosi’s Office. This is How You Can Land a Hillternship.

Author: Bennie Chang (SFS'26)
Date Published: April 9, 2024

One of the best things about Georgetown is how close it is to Capitol Hill. The Hill is a 15-minute car ride or a 40-minute metro from campus, a relatively easy commute for students who want an internship on the Hill, called Hillternships! 

Interning on the Hill is a must-do because it is an accessible and eye-opening experience to see if a career in government and politics, particularly on the Hill, is the right fit for you. Plus, it is an incredible experience — you will have a lot of fun!

Me shaking hands with Speaker Pelosi at the intern breakfast with the speaker.

I knew I wanted to do a Hillternship sometime during my four years. I started cluelessly applying for opportunities in my freshman spring, and after consulting upperclassmen, I started getting interviews for internships in the fall. Being in DC means Georgetown students can intern not only in the summer but also during the school year. After a few interviews, I got an offer to intern in the office of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (H’02) this past fall.

I had an incredible time on the Hill, and it was the best internship I have had because of the people I met and the things I experienced. A few of my highlights included going on the U.S. Capitol dome tour, watching the election of Speaker Mike Johnson and getting breakfast with Speaker Pelosi.

My typical work included answering phone calls, opening and sending out mail, reading and gathering daily news reports, and taking notes on hearings. While the technical skills you learn are not extensive, the experiences and memories were absolutely worth it. 

During my internship, I went with my fellow interns and intern coordinator to the top of the U.S. Capitol dome.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, I have some tips and tricks to help you get a Hillternship!

7 Need-to-Know Tips to Land an Internship on Capitol Hill

Research the type of internships available

There are Senate and House of Representative internships. In both, there are leadership offices, personal member offices and committee staff opportunities. There are also a few support offices that are nonpartisan if you are interested in that. The most common internships are legislative and press internships in personal offices and committees. Legislative interns work on hearing and bill memos while press interns work on daily news clips and social media content creation. 


Research who your senators and representatives are

The easiest way to get an internship is to work with your home-state senator or local representative’s office. Offices often have a preference for constituents, so take advantage of that. Additionally, if they serve as the chair or vice chair of a committee, you may also have a higher chance of being hired there! However, don’t limit yourself to only these opportunities — apply for as many offices and committees that interest you. Nothing is impossible!

Sign up for and regularly look at the House and Senate bulletins

The House has a bulletin that announces publicly open internship opportunities through weekly emails. Sign up for the email list to have it delivered to your inbox. While the Senate does not have an email list, the Senate updates its website with opportunities frequently.

Looking down from the top of the rotunda during a U.S. Capitol dome tour.

Have a high-impact, one-page resume

The Cawley Career Center has a helpful guide to write your resume. Your resume cannot be longer than one page, and you should quantify the impact you made in each of your bullet points. I would also recommend finding an experienced upperclassman you trust to review your resume. If you don’t know anyone, I would go to the Cawley Career Center to have the government industry advisor or a student working in the public sector industry to review your resume.

Network with the offices/committees that you would like to work for

Now that you have an idea of where you can work, what the openings are and how to create a strong resume, you can put your best foot forward by virtually coffee chatting hiring managers. They are usually staff assistants or intern coordinators in personal offices and committees. You can find out who they are by using LinkedIn and searching the office/committee and position. Then send a message on LinkedIn or cold email to schedule a quick 15-minute phone call to talk about their experience. At the end of the conversation, express your interest in the internship and don’t forget to send them a thank you email or message!

Apply 2-4 months before the internship starts

Hillternship applications usually open a few months before the internship starts. However, some offices and committees can open earlier in advance, so it doesn’t hurt to start looking before that.

Practice and prepare for interviews

What I like to do before interviews is to search for and draft questions I think they would ask me and then outline my responses. Offices will only ask you behavioral questions, but come prepared knowing what the office/committee’s priorities are. The key to succeeding in interviews is to be prepared, friendly and genuine. The person interviewing you will likely be who you will work with during your internship, so make sure to give off a good impression!

Whether you are interested in a Hillternship or not, I hope that the suggestions above will help you on your internship search. I have found internships to be eye-opening and helpful in informing my career search, and I would definitely recommend you to seek one out too. Good luck!

Bennie Chang (SFS’26) is from San Jose, California, and studies regional and comparative studies, international business diplomacy and art.