This past summer, recent UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate Katherine Harris was a legislative intern for Congressman Scott Franklin in Washington, D.C. Harris graduated from the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department (FRE) in August after finishing her internship.
As a legislative intern, Harris attended legislative briefings and conducted legislative research. Other responsibilities she had included keeping the office organized and completing write-ups. These tasks were split between Harris and the other intern in Congressman Franklin’s office.
Harris also had specific projects that fostered the opportunity to learn more about Washington, D.C. and the United States. These tasks had focuses on local historical sites, research and networking within the United States legislative branch. The goal was to allow Harris to develop a sincere appreciation for the history of the United States government.
“It’s one thing to learn about it in school, read from the textbooks and visit DC as a kid, but now that I’m older and can appreciate the intricate details that are involved, I feel like I have seen a much more personal side of American history,” said Harris.
One task was to visit several museums and memorials with her fellow intern. This served as a team bonding exercise, but also familiarized the two with important places around the Capitol. Two of Harris’s favorite spots were the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Additionally, interns in D.C. attended the “Summer Intern Lecture Series.” These events, hosted by the Committee on House Administration, featured current Congressmen, Congresswomen, and Senators. In these lectures, legislators discussed their journeys, gave advice and answered questions from the interns.
“[The lectures] proved to be time very well spent, as I learned how so many [legislators] are down to earth and have a life full of experience before getting to Capitol Hill,” said Harris.
Her experiences on Capitol Hill are already having a positive influence on her career. After returning home to Florida, Harris began her law school journey at Barry University in Orlando. Harris is already seeing connections between her internship and career, as she has contacts with UF Law now.
Harris was able to participate in this experience with funding from the VP Promise Initiative and the Carl Loop Legislative Internship Scholarship.
The VP Promise is an initiative to provide financial assistance for students pursuing experiences in agriculture, life sciences and natural resources. CALS supports student success both inside and outside of the classroom and encourages students to broaden their perspectives through enriching opportunities such as study abroad programs and travel to conferences. For more information on the VP Promise visit the CALS website.