A political science and public policy major, Todd Foy '12 of Hadley, Mass., is spending the summer as an intern in the office of U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Massachusetts, in Washington, D.C., through The Washington Center.
"I have always been enthralled and excited by politics, so being in D.C. is like a birthday every day," Foy said. "It's absolutely incredible to walk the halls with legends. I get to experience things that so many people cannot.
"I've ridden the subway under the Capitol with John McCain. I get to sit in the Senate Gallery anytime I want and watch our Republic in action. I am able to work with Capitol Hill staff members and learn the true mechanics of legislation. These are the things that no classroom or lecture can truly provide to you. It's incredible and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
His responsibilities include attending briefings and hearings, and aiding Sen. Kerry's staff members.
"I am in charge of all voice mails that reach the office. I check and log them daily so staff members can keep track of issues that are of concern to Massachusetts residents," Foy explained. "Recently, I completed a project which outlined the Senator's major accomplishments on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is chairperson. It was an extensive research project that took about a month, but really helped familiarize me with foreign policy and the Senate's influence on it. I am also in the process of re-drafting the internship manual for the office, so that is very exciting."
Because of the variety and quality of opportunities Foy already has experienced, an internship in federal government was the next logical step.
"Up until now, I have worked on pretty much every level of political involvement available to me," he explained. "In the summer of 2009, I worked for MassPIRG out of their Boston office and learned the ropes of basic 'lobbying' and grassroots movements. Then, last summer, I worked on the election campaign for now-State Representative Gail Cariddi."
Earlier this year, Foy also participated with other MCLA students in the North American Model United Nations at the University of Toronto.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, he soon discovered that Washington D.C. and the workings of the federal government were not what he expected them to be.
"The media and pundits really portray this 'big dysfunctional government,' where partisanship is the law of the land. Since being here, I've seen otherwise," he explained. "First of all, I've had the chance to actually stand on the floor of the Senate. It was very humbling and it makes you realize, 'Hey, this is it. These 100 desks are nothing to be scared of.' Second, Republicans and Democrats are people at the end of the day. I think partisanship is a term belonging to issues alone. This government works like it should and its members usually treat each other with the utmost dignity and respect."
The internship has brought his educational experience to a culmination.
"I am getting professional and academic skills out of this internship that I can say for certain will help me start a career not long after graduation. I will return to MCLA in the fall with new skills that can be applied in the classroom and in extracurricular activities like student government," he explained. "It has truly helped me grow as a young adult and young professional."