Shannon Kimbrough started her morning commutes on the DC metro reading from the POLITICO Playbook, a popular newsletter about politics.
Two days during the week, Kimbrough traveled to her Politics & Policy, Political Institutions and DC Communications classes at American University. Her communications class, an elective, required her to read the Playbook each day.
The other three days of the week, she thumbed through the political newsletter on the way to an internship at Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office, the senior senator from her home state of Georgia.
‘There’s politics in the air, and I love it’
The class and work were part of the Washington Semester Internship Program, which Kimbrough took part in this past spring as a junior. The temperatures were cold and the commute was early, but Kimbrough says it was all worth it for the experience.
“I chose to participate in the WSP because I knew that I wanted to experience living and working in DC,” she said midway through the semester. “I’ve always had thoughts about a career in government or politics. So I figured what better way to know for sure besides coming here and experiencing it for myself?
“I’ve absolutely fallen in love with DC, so I know I made the right choice in deciding to spend my semester here. There’s politics in the air, and I love it.”
During the program, students are registered through American University for a transient semester. The students mainly study American government, foreign policy, global economics and business, international law, journalism and media, and public health.
For Kimbrough, the internship did way more than earn her four hours of academic credit.
For starters, she says the semester in DC helped her make connections “left and right.”
“Everyone hands out business cards and people really are willing to sit down and have coffee with you to give advice,” she said. “I definitely have made some great connections here with people who might help me get jobs after graduation.”
Second, Kimbrough said she had opportunities to meet people and see places she thought she may not otherwise.
Who She Met, What She Saw
During her internship, Kimbrough met Justice Stephen Breyer, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; Mark Putnam, the founding partner of Putnam Partners; and Daniel Lippman, one of the writers of the Politico Playbook.
“Mid-march, my class went to a WeWork (which was so, so cool!), and he basically told us his back story and how his everyday life is now,” she recalled. “He gets almost no sleep, and he’s so young. It was really impressive to see a young professional having such an impact on the political world.”
Kimbrough went to places like The American Enterprise Institute, The National Gallery of Art and The Community for Creative Non-Violence, the largest homeless shelter in the Washington, DC, area and one of the largest homeless shelters in the United States.
During and After the Internship
If that weren’t eye-opening enough, Kimbrough worked for the healthcare committee in the U.S. Senate. Senator Isakson is on the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee.
During her internship, Kimbrough helped the committee staff conduct research, analyze legislation, draft memorandums, and organize hearings.
She also helped with tours, something she said made her nervous at first, but she came to love — especially when kids visited.
Back in Clinton, Kimbrough is going into her senior year at PC. She says she still has time to figure whether she’ll also want to go to graduate school after she has some experience. Eventually, she’d love to go back to DC to work.
The Office of Career & Professional Development helps students, like Kimbrough, find internships they’re interested in. Check out all the ways the Office of Career & Professional Development can help you prepare for life after college.