Intern Finds Niche on Capitol Hill

Dean with other interns on Gator Day.

With funding from the VP Promise, Alayna Dean, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) senior, was an intern Washington, D.C. this past summer. Dean, who is studying microbiology and cell science, worked in Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office. She was one of five students to receive the college’s Carl Loop Legislative Internship Scholarship, which is an extension of the VP Promise.

As a congressional intern, Dean provided tours of Capitol Hill to constituents and conducted background research. She also wrote memos, attended briefings and observed committee hearings.  

“Giving tours and attending briefings, particularly featuring top-tier industry professionals, were among my favorite tasks, as they allowed me to deepen relationships within the district and gain invaluable insights,” said Dean.  

In addition to learning more about the inner-workings of policy making, Dean also improved her communications skills. Dean was able to work with several teams during her time on Capitol Hill, such as her intern cohort. She also learned how to assimilate political jargon and make it more digestible for citizens to understand.

Dean (far right) at the Annual Congressional Charity Softball Game.

Dean also took advantage of networking opportunities while in Washington, D.C. She met with individuals with a variety of backgrounds, including several UF alumni.

“The weekly coffee chats and conversations with Gator alumni and CALS connections provided me with insights into various career paths, and I eagerly anticipate nurturing these connections as I plan to return to D.C. in the future,” said Dean.  

The VP Promise Initiative strives to provide undergraduate students in CALS with unique, hands-on learning experiences like internships. Dean narrowed her career goals while in Washington, D.C. and will be pursuing opportunities with the Peace Corps after graduation. Her internship impacted her in several other ways.

“From the cuisine to the opportunities, this internship has left a lasting mark on me and will undoubtedly shape my career path moving forward. Life-changing connections were forged, and I eagerly anticipate how this experience will influence my remaining time at UF and beyond,” said Dean.  

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.


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Posted: October 30, 2023

Category: Professional Development, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Career Services, Intern, Microbiology And Cell Science, VP Promise

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