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WASHINGTON – Taylorville, Illinois, native Meredith DePaepe spent this summer interning for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), working behind the scenes in the Senator’s Capitol Hill office as an intern.
“I started my career on Capitol Hill as a college intern for Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois,” Durbin said. “I will never forget that day in February of 1966 when he agreed to hire me as an intern to work in his office. As a student from East St. Louis, Illinois, going to work in the office of a U.S. Senator was one of the most exciting things I had ever done. I know what a valuable experience it can be and we strive to make sure all of our students get a glimpse into the workings of the United States Senate.”
A resident of Taylorville, Meredith graduated from the University of Florida this April with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Meredith has always had an interest in public service, dating back to serving on her elementary school student council. She learned how rewarding public service can be after working on a state senate campaign in central Illinois during the summer of 2018. On campus, Meredith served on the executive board of Chomp The Vote, a student government organization devoted to educating students on the importance of civic engagement and helping students register to vote. She also worked as a research fellow under her political science professors, collecting and analyzing public opinion data on recent political events.
“I have dreamed about interning on Capitol Hill for years,” Meredith said. “I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to work in Senator Durbin’s office. In the short time that I have been here, I have learned an incredible amount about the U.S. political process. It is always exciting to be in the midst of everything happening on Capitol Hill each day.”
The intern responsibilities include assisting full-time staff in responding to constituent related topics, assisting with information inquiries, attending committee and agency hearings and briefings, researching legislative issues and policy questions, and observing floor proceedings. During that time, the students gain firsthand knowledge of the legislative process, learn about the inner-workings of the federal government, and develop valuable research skills.