Madeleine Powley, a BYU-Idaho English major and senior, currently interns full-time in Washington, D.C., for Senator James E. Risch, R-Idaho. She is from California and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ in Latter-day Saints in Thailand. Interning for Sen. Risch interested Powley because of her love for writing and communication. 

This internship is unique because it offers students a stipend to live in Washington, D.C., whereas most internships specific to English majors are unpaid. Several applicants apply to shadow senators as interns each semester, however only a few are selected. Powley believes her strong literacy skills set her apart.  

“With the selection process, I think they didn’t want to necessarily see somebody in politics specifically,” Powley said. “They were looking for really anybody really who had any kind of experience who could bring their interests into this kind of environment. So, with English, I think it was more just being able to know how to use those reading and writing skills that we hone during college and take it to the next level.” 

Powley considers herself lucky to wake up every morning and walk down the street past so many historical buildings and museums in the nation’s capital. Typical tasks for Powley consist of drafting projects, editing websites, participating in media briefings and attending Senate hearings. Her internship has opened her mind to pursuing a career in technical writing and editing, specifically in the law field.  

With her long-term love of writing and English, Powley still wishes to continue creative writing. She has found the more she experiences firsthand, the more she has to write about. Powley looks forward to incorporating the lessons she has learned from her Fall internship into some creative medium. 

She learned about this internship through an automated school email from the Handshake job-search and internship website. Powley decided to apply and was happily surprised when she was accepted. She gives the following advice to students who are seeking internships in related fields. 

“Well for starters, I’d say don’t delete your emails. You never know, I guess, what is out there…First of all, don’t be close-minded,” she said. “I’d say look for things that you mind not even think about, talk to your teacher, talk to people who have done other things maybe outside of school or have similar interests and are also looking for things and you can kind of collaborate. Don’t turn down things completely even if it seems a little bit off the beaten path.”