Interning for the Congresswoman of Hats - Karsyn Koon ’24

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Being a senior in college with my future career fast approaching induces a feeling of both panic and excitement. Panic over whether or not I have done enough and what on earth I am going to do next, and excitement for a future full of possibilities. It was mostly that first emotion that spurred me into action this fall semester. I began applying to any opportunity that sounded remotely interesting as someone on the pre-law track.

I figured it was a long shot when I applied to intern with Congresswoman Alma Adams’ office here in Charlotte, NC. Surely, this honorable and famous politician wouldn’t bother to look twice at a random college student looking for experience. Thankfully, I was wrong!

I was technically supposed to be interviewed by the Congresswoman herself as a step in the hiring process. Unfortunately, my application came during a tumultuous time in the federal government (although let’s be real, when is it not a tumultuous time?) and thus I missed out on a one-on-one conversation with Alma Adams, Ph.D. There was no word on the position for the longest time until suddenly I received an email that I was meant to start in one week and the office needed my information. From this onboarding process, I truly gained some first-hand experience in the toils of the bureaucracy (waiting and setbacks and more waiting), but it all proved fruitful in the end as I officially started as a congressional intern.

I have truly enjoyed my time in the Congresswoman’s office. Dr. Alma Adams herself is amazing. To explain the title of this article a bit, she is known for her extensive and elaborate hat collection and is the proud owner of over 1,400 hats. It is most definitely her staple! I have now met her several times, including once at a community event where I loaned her $8 to buy a hotdog and soda. She is a celebrity in her own right, but also humble and down-to-earth. I have enjoyed getting to know and learn from her and seeing her work both locally and on the national stage. The way she conducts herself and cares for her constituents is something to be admired. I am very thankful to not only be represented by her but to work by her side.

The internship itself has also provided me with numerous opportunities and teachings in my short time here. One of my main tasks is to assist in answering constituent calls and work through whatever issue they are dealing with. The amount of customer service experience I will gain from this job is incredible, in both a positive and negative way. In all seriousness, I am fond of the community interactions I get to have, and enjoy hearing the opinions, stories and comments of my fellow North Carolinians. It is because of this internship that I find myself becoming more patient, open-minded and knowledgeable of my environment.

While I still cannot assuredly say that my future lies with politics, there are many life lessons I am gaining in this role. I may not know exactly what comes next for me, but I feel more confident in myself and my ability to thrive because of my time as a congressional intern.

 

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