- Interned at: Office of Congresswoman Doris Matsui
- Participated: Summer 2015
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sofia-v-molodanof-995972b2
Tell us about your internship – what kind of work did you do? What did you find rewarding?
I interned for Congresswoman Doris Matsui on Capitol Hill. I had the opportunity to attend hearings and briefings on a variety of issues including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, drug pricing, and women’s health, and write memorandum for the staff on those issues. I also wrote constituent letters and Congressional Reports and gave tours of the Capitol. It was amazing to be able to explore all the areas of the Capitol, including the places that are not open to visitors. Additionally, having the opportunity to watch the members vote from the gallery and listen to statements from members on the floor was incredible. The most rewarding part of the work was being able to hear first hand from the Congresswoman how and why she planned on voting a particular way. I learned so much about the legislative process and made amazing professional connections with the staff that made my time on the Hill an experience I’ll never forget.
Have your career or life goals changed as a result of your internship? If so, how?
When I participated in UCDC, I knew that I wanted to go to law school, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go or what type of law I wanted to practice. After doing UCDC, I feel in love with D.C. and my new goal was to attend a law school there. I also found my passion for health policy while working on a variety of health issues and attending hearings and briefings for the health staffer.
I am now in my second year of law school at Georgetown and plan to work in the health law and policy field after graduation. Without my UCDC experience, I would not be where I am today.
Share an exciting memory from your internship – something unexpected, an accomplishment, someone you met.
An exciting memory I have from my internship is when Obergefell v. Hodges (the “same-sex marriage case”) was decided at the Supreme Court. When the news broke that the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry, my whole office ran from the Capitol to the Supreme Court. I stood at the steps of the Supreme Court, along with other members of the community, celebrating this historical moment.
Another memory I have from my internship was when the Women’s Caucus hosted an event with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. I not only got to help plan the event, but I also was able to attend it. I listened to Sheryl Sandberg speak about her experience of being a woman in a high level position and how she navigates this part of the working world that is usually dominated by men. It was incredible to be surrounded by all of the women from the House of Representatives and Senate. Like all the female members of Congress, I also received a copy of Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In.
Did your internship lead to any opportunities?
My internship led me to the opportunity to intern for Congresswoman Doris Matsui the following summer in her District Office in Sacramento. Furthermore, I am still in touch with people who worked at the office when I was there. I recently just got coffee with two people in the office who I worked closely with on health policy issues. One of the individuals is an attorney who has connected me with other lawyers in the health law and policy field in D.C. I am so thankful to have made such amazing connections that I still have almost five years after participating in UCDC.
Share a story about something special you did in Washington – an event you attended, a place you went, an exciting talk, etc.
I was lucky to be in D.C. on the Fourth of July and spend my day walking around the Mall, taking in all the excitement that was going on around me. I also sat on the lawn under the Washington Monument at night and watched the firework show. Nothing beats being in the nation’s capital on the Fourth of July! It was a very special experience I will always remember.
How has living in the nation’s capital for a quarter changed you?
Living in the nation’s capital for a quarter allowed me to meet people from a variety of different places around the country with different perspective on a variety of issues, including political and apolitical subject matter. I realized that because I lived in California my whole life and most of my peers at UC Davis were also from California, I had not been exposed to as many different perspectives. It changed the way that I look at the country and I constantly remind myself that where people grew up has a big impact on how they perceive certain situations and issues facing our country.
Do you have any advice for future UCDC students?
Take advantage of all the networking opportunities and stay in touch with the people you meet. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you worked with and continue to follow-up to keep those relationships. Having connections is really important in D.C. and makes a huge difference when applying for jobs. Even if you don’t want to work at the same place you interned, the people at your office likely know someone who works at the place you are seeking employment.