Claire Schad

Major: Political Science

  • Internship: The Office of Congressman John Garamendi

Tell us about your internship – what kind of work did you do? What did you find rewarding?

While working in Congressman Garamendi's office I helped manage the front office which included answering calls from constituents, greeting all visitors, and scheduling tours of the Capitol, White House, and other D.C. monuments. Each day, I also compiled press clips for the Congressman's communication director. This included searching many different news sources for any mention of the congressman or his district and then compiling all of the news stories in a single document. While all of my daily tasks were rewarding, my favorite task was writing response letters to constituents who had written in about different policy concerns. I really enjoyed this because I was able to communicate directly with constituents and present policy information in a way that easy to understand for a public audience.

Share an exciting memory from your internship – something unexpected, an accomplishment, someone you met.


One of the most memorable parts of my internship came on my very last day. On my final day, I sat down with many of the staffers in my office, including the communications director, chief of staff, and legislative director, and asked them any questions I had about their positions and professional experience. We also talked about my goals and they gave me specific and valuable professional advice. I felt very supported by all of the office staff throughout my entire internship, but this experience in the end was very meaningful and I won't forget it.

Did your internship lead to any opportunities?

My internship with Congressman Garamendi definitely helped me specify my career interests. By interacting with so many different constituents and visitors, all with varying backgrounds, I was able to grasp the complexity of the legislative system, which has motivated me to work towards a future where constituents feel even more connected to their representatives. Additionally, I feel confident that this internship broadened my professional network and allowed me to build relationships with people with varying interests and backgrounds. Overall, I think that my internship with Congressman Garamendi allowed me to gain skills and experience that will be valuable no matter what career path I choose.

Share a story about something special you did in Washington – an event you attended, a place you went, an exciting talk, etc. 


One of the most exciting things I did in Washington was volunteering at the White House's Easter Egg Roll. I received an email from UCDC with this opportunity soon after I arrived in DC to volunteer for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's booth at the Easter Egg Roll. Along with a few other UCDC students, I made my way to the White House before the sun came up and helped set up and run a fun science activity for children on the White House lawn. This was an amazing opportunity and I got to see the President and First Lady speak and explore all of the festivities after my volunteer shift was over.

How has living in the nation's capital for a quarter changed you?

Living in Washington was like nothing I have ever done in my life. I feel like this experience helped me become more independent and grow both personally and professionally. Additionally, living in an urban environment pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to try new things, that I otherwise would not have experienced. Finally, I feel like the timeline of being in Washington for a quarter was the perfect length that allowed me to see so many things and try out city life so I could decide if it might be somewhere I want to live postgrad.


Do you have any advice for future UCDC students?

Embrace the time you have in DC, try new things, and make sure to take advantage of the closeness of cities surrounding DC. Additionally, take advantage of the different opportunities provided by UCDC and your internship site, without these opportunities, I would not have participated in the White House Easter Egg Roll, or gone to the White House Sping Garden Tour. Additionally, don't be afraid to communicate with your internship coordinator about what you hope to do and experience during your internship, they likely want to make sure you have the best experience possible!

Primary Category

Secondary Categories