NIAC Summer Senior Fellow: My Time On Capitol Hill
While working on Capitol Hill is a great experience for any American student interested in policy making, my experience as an Iranian-American was somewhat unique.
While working on Capitol Hill is a great experience for any American student interested in policy making, my experience as an Iranian-American was somewhat unique. While the internship was serving my interests in public policy, I also had to represent the Iranian-American community and the different domestic and international issues concerning them.
As NIAC’s Senior Fellow, this summer I had the honor of working at Congressman Rush Holt’s (D- NJ) office and witnessing the work of U.S. officials on a daily basis. During my time on Capitol Hill, Congress spent a good amount of time dealing with the budget deficit and raising the national debt ceiling. Being in the middle of this discussion and hearing the arguments was an exceptional experience. The most notable part of this experience was realizing how small decisions could incredibly impact the lives of average citizens around the country. At the same time, many of them feel their voices are not heard in DC. Working with Congressman Rush Holt showed me how closely he is in touch with his constituents and how he is constantly is trying to understand and answer their demands.
On the more personal level, I wasn’t sure how this fellowship would fit my needs and qualifications in graduate school. However, after being introduced to legislative staff at Congressman Holt’s office, I learned that the majority of them hold postgraduate degrees in a variety of fields. Working in such an intellectual environment made me realize that I am on the right path and that in order to make a difference in the community, one must not necessarily be a politician or exclusively have political training.
My summer Fellowship provided me with a firsthand experience of knowing the details of American political system, learning its strength and weaknesses, and giving me the opportunity to spend a few months in one of the most exciting cities in America. I’m looking forward to applying what I gained from this incredible experience in my current and future research as well as extending my knowledge to other Iranian Americans in my community who feel the need to express their opinion on issues that affect them.