U.S. Senate, Sen. John Cornyn
Fall 2013 Site Review
Position: United States Senate Intern Program
Student: Government, Sophomore
A day in the senator’s office begins at 9:00am in the Chase Tower downtown Austin, Texas. Punctuality is important and I am always greeted every morning with smiles, hello’s and how was your weekend? I usually put my things down at my desk and am greeted by the internship coordinator. Depending on how busy we are that day we will dive into whatever is necessary. The day starts with doing press clips, which are a gathering of news articles important to Central Texas. Articles related to agriculture, environment, local politics, finances and education are just a few of the important pieces to grab. After the news clips are done for the day the intern is usually put to work with whatever is going on that day. The fall interns will be mainly responsible for helping with service academy nominations. Every year high school students who want to apply to service academies such as West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy or Merchant Marine Academy need a nomination from a congressman, vice president or president. Over the course of just a few months we receive over six hundred applications that need to be sorted, filed, organized and much more. This all leads up to a board meeting in November to decide who the Senator will give nominations to. While working on any project the phones are a priority. Constituents call on a daily basis in high numbers when there is political dilemma on the line. On average the Austin office will take about fifty phone calls a week, however, leading up to the government shutdown with Obamacare we took over seven hundred phone calls that week. Daily talking points are given to be able to adequately converse with constituents on important matters. It is important to not speak for the Senator or take any press calls but to just stick to the talking points and statements the Senator has already released. On off days the intern is there to be the support for everyone else. Phone calls, shredding documents, stuffing envelopes and running to the mailbox are all things that you could be responsible for. It is nice to work in such a professional environment and see the inner working of the Senate.
Fall 2009 Site ReviewPostion: Service Academy Nomination Intern
Student: Plan II Junior (Austin)
The fall undergraduate internship at Senator John Cornyn’s Austin office is an internship in the federal government sector. The fall intern is mainly concerned with the U.S. Service Academy Nominations Process. The internship is a positive experience and provides and interesting opportunity to get a “behind-the-scenes” view of governmental operations. The internship requires basic knowledge of current events, self-motivation and attention to detail.
Outside of the Academy Nominations Process, interns assist with constituents. This involves answering constituent’s calls which may come in the form of questions or comments for Senator Cornyn. When an intern receives a comment for the Senator, the intern enters the data into a system called InterTrac. Interns should stay up-to-date with current events in order to understand the nature of each call. Interns are also responsible for opening and filing all mail and faxes.
Senator Cornyn nominates Texas students to attend U.S. Service Academies (i.e. Air Force Academy). Interns work with and take direction from the Academy Coordinator. Students send in application packets which contain essays, test scores, recommendations, etc. in a process that is similar to college admissions. Interns enter all data in InterTrac and then file the paper documents in the office. Interns send thank-you letters to constituents who write recommendations. Also, interns are responsible for informing students as to the status of their packets through mail. When the application deadline passes, interns assist with preparations for the Academy Board meeting, an event at which a board Academy graduates assist the Senator in nominating students. Interns are expected to attend the day-long meeting to prepare and organize all materials, enter data, and answer any questions in regards to the protocol of the selection process.