Jilian Plank

Participated in: Spring 2013

Major: Political Science & Public Service

Internship Organization: Office of Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA)

Current Position: Legislative Director, Office of Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA)

Email: jilianplank@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jilian-plank-711b4189

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Jilian Plank

How has your experience with the Washington Program affected your career trajectory?

I have always been interested in politics, thus my Political Science major. Before the Washington Program, however, I had not determined what field of politics I wanted to work in. The Washington Program was truly a career catalyst, and I can definitely say that I would not be in the place I am today without the program's help. After being accepted into the UCDC program, I secured an internship in the office of Congressman Devin Nunes, my hometown member of Congress, where the relationships I made would eventually provide me with the opportunity to return to DC. Because of how I performed as an intern, my office asked me to return for a full time position shortly after graduation. Three weeks after graduation, I moved across the country and began full-time in Congressman Nunes’ office. 

Have your career goals evolved since your participation in the Washington Program?

My career goals have evolved a lot since I completed the Washington Program. Prior to the Washington Program, I was more familiar with state and local politics, where I had spent the most time and energy. After completing the Washington Program, my passion for federal politics was solidified. I have also had the opportunity to grow with my office, meaning that I have been able to discover my true passions while working in the office. Had I not been exposed to the Ways and Means Committee, I might have never found my passion for tax policy. 

Describe what you are currently doing, and how your experiences in DC relate to your current position.

I am currently Congressman Nunes’ Legislative Director and oversee the legislative operation and staff. On a daily basis, I work to implement the Congressman’s policy objectives and goals and act as the point of contact between Ways and Means Committee staff and the Congressman. The specific legislative issues in my portfolio include tax, trade, agriculture, and water. Though I did not gain a lot of direct exposure to legislative policy-making while I was an intern, I definitely had exposure to how my office operated. Because of my prior experience, my transition into a full-time member of the staff was very smooth, giving me the opportunity and time to learn the legislative process and my boss’ legislative priorities. 

Do you have any advice for future Washington Program participants?

Relationships and network-building are always important, but beyond that, attention to detail is critical. Good supervisors will immediately recognize attention to detail, which I truly believe distinguishes great interns from good interns. If you keep your head down, work hard, and take in as much information as you can, the opportunities are endless.