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Daniela student Legislative Intern signing off 2018 legislative session

March 12, 2018 by Daniela Suarez

The experience I’ve gained being the State Board Legislative Interns is one I will carry wherever I go. It’s changed the way I will approach the next college I attend and the next job I hope to land,with an emphasis on being a constituent as well.

I’ve had the utmost privilege being SPSCC’s Senator of Legislative Affairs this past year. Being in this position has given me the opportunity to work on initiatives to better the overall student experience at SPSCC. Another integral part of my job is to be the bridge between the Legislature and the students at SPSCC. Being the Legislative Intern for the State Board could not have better prepared me for this responsibility. The internship has allowed me to be on the ground, seeing legislative action happen right before my eyes.

I will be graduating from South Puget Sound Community College this spring, and I will transfer it the fall. Wherever I choose to go, I know I can step into the same role I had SPSCC. That could mean working with student government or the government relations office to offer student support and engagement suggestions. Overall, I am confident in saying this is not the end of my time at the capitol campus. I loved supporting student-centered legislation. This internship showed me where the resources are and how to involve others. With that knowledge, I can easily do the same at my next school or community.

I’ll be the first to admit that in the very beginning of my internship, it was intimidating being introduced into this new world. Learning the jargon, schedules, and an overall understanding of the political atmosphere here in Olympia just took time to pick up. After I had an inside look at what went on in the Legislature with the relationships I established with staff and legislators.

Working to communicate with different groups of people was an integral part of my internship as well, students especially need to be reached and communicated with differently. This experience is a remarkable asset in preparation for future jobs, whether that be in the field of political science or not. Learning how to navigate the legislative process and how foster relationships between organizations and legislators from diverse communities to collectively work together is a vital asset. Additionally, I’ve learned how to best communicate with councils and associations about legislative actions that are taking place by creating visuals and presentations to articulate how it would affect certain groups. I worked very closely with WACTCSA, reporting progress on issues that were a priority to them.

A big reason why I hold this internship close to my heart is because it’s changed the way I see myself being a constituent in Washington. From a student perspective, looking from the outside in, it can seem hard to become engaged in a system that is full of nuances and facets that are not explicitly explained. Looking now from the inside out, I want to continue feeling “in;” aware.

Decisions on issues that can affect our everyday life are made and debated on a daily basis. I can no longer sit back and wait for decisions to be made. I want to continue being a part of the conversation. For that, I am grateful that Washington State is one of the most transparent legislatures in the U.S. It allows and encourages voices like mine to be heard and included.

My time at the State Board was well spent. Throughout session, when someone asked me how my experience has been, I’ve always said “It’s everything I could’ve wished for: meaningful work in an environment that fosters positive change.”

Last Modified: 3/12/18 5:13 PM
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