Internship Spotlight: Charlotte Townsend, NeW at College of Charleston

This summer, NeW is proud to highlight the great internship opportunities NeW women are experiencing in the workplace. Meet Charlotte Townsend, President of NeW at College of Charleston and intern for U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. Charlotte is a Political Science major with an International Studies minor. Learn more about her summer internship:

Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because I was ready to have a role that required me to have more responsibility. Internships are a constant challenge between both gaining experience and proving that you have the experience to do the job. With the internships I already have under my belt, I felt that a Senate office would be a step up in my professional career, in addition to experiencing a different realm of political science.

What does your day look like in your internship?
My primary task is to talk with constituents and address their sentiment on current legislation and policy issues. If a constituent contacts our office with an opinion on a certain issue or bill, I record their opinion in our data system to ensure that they receive a prompt response from our office in Washington, DC. When opinions are recorded, they allow the Senator and his staff to see the issues that are most important to South Carolinians. This has particularly helped me become more knowledgeable about the trends of the state.

Constituents also call into our office to obtain services that they are struggling to receive from the federal government, such as disability or social security. I have the responsibility of opening casework for these individuals, and they are assigned to the appropriate staff member. However, before any staff member can start working the case, the constituent must return to us a Privacy Act Release, which I mail to them. This is a very important step in the process because it allows the Senator’s office to communicate with federal agencies on the constituent’s behalf.

In addition to these tasks, I occasionally conduct research on legislation, district-based projects, and federal programs, such as the reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals back into the community, and programs for veterans with mental illnesses.

What has been your favorite part of the internship so far?
My favorite part of the internship has been helping Senator Scott’s constituents feel relief by helping them receive the services they need. I am honored to have the responsibility of talking with and helping constituents in the difficulties they are facing in their lives. It’s humbling to know that I’m helping those who have either been marginalized in society or feel that they have been left behind by the system. It’s humbling to know that I’ve been allowed the opportunity to help give them a voice.

How does this internship help set you up for your career dreams?
I hope to work in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill or for a conservative think tank, such as the Heritage Foundation, for my next internship. I felt that working in a Congressional office would help me prepare for my “next step.” It’s given me a sense of responsibility that I’ve been longing for in an internship. I’m grateful that my fellow staff members are trusting me with the experience that I already have in order to help me build on it and perform a variety of tasks.

How has your experience with NeW prepared you for this role?
I attribute my professional growth over the past three years to NeW. Being a Chapter Leader has really shaped me into being an effective leader, not only on campus and in the community, but in my role as an intern. It’s given me the skills necessary to get the most out of my internship and ultimately help advance my career as a young female in politics. Furthermore, NeW has helped me realize the importance of having a network. Politics is a small world, and conservative politics is an even smaller world! It’s important to your career to have people in your corner that can vouch for you when the time comes.

Any advice for other students who are looking for an internship?
When looking for an internship, strive for growth. Search for an internship that you are capable of, but that will also be a challenge to you. Each internship you have is a building block to your ultimate career goal. Ask yourself how you can build on the experience you already have when searching for that new internship.

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