Hello! My name is Shannon Cosgrove, and I am one of the three legislative interns for this session. I am currently attending Columbia Basin College to pursue my AA with a focus on environmental science. Not only am I a proud student of Columbia Basin, I am also an athlete and play for the women’s soccer team (Go Hawks!). After I get my associate degree, I plan to transfer to a bachelor’s program to study environmental policy. Originally, I am from Port Angeles, and growing up with the Olympic National Park in my backyard has given me a strong passion for protecting our environment. This internship is giving me the opportunity to dip my toes in the policy making process and build up my confidence.
When I heard that I had been chosen to work alongside two other legislative interns, it felt like a dream. After just a few weeks, I have already absorbed so much knowledge and met so many people. My knowledge of reading bills was limited to Schoolhouse Rock (“I’m just a Bill…”) and AP Gov, but with the tools Arlen Harris, the State Board’s legislative director, provided us, I have learned a lot. I have learned how to read a legislative measure and about the different types of measures I may encounter during this session. I can’t wait to continue to foster connections and soak up as much as I can, like a legislative sponge.
Going to Olympia to meet all the individuals who apply their talents to the endeavor of building a better reality and future for all the community and technical college students across the state was surreal. I remember walking around the State Board building, meeting all the supportive individuals, and feeling overwhelmed by the feeling of excitement that I, too, would be a part of that mission. I had been to Olympia once before, but it was great to see the Capitol building again … and Kurt Cobain’s house for the first time! After I returned home, I felt like I had dreamt everything because it was all just too cool to be true.
That dream became solidified and became a reality when I testified for the first time last week. On Jan. 18, I testified in favor of House Bill 1094 at the public hearing in the House Committee on Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning. This bill, if passed, would create the Washington Future Fund program, which would provide an investment account for people meeting certain criteria. This bill was important to me because it was a step in creating a brighter future for the next generation of Washingtonians. Those children will be our future doctors, electricians, plumbers and chefs, and will keep helping Washington be the state I loved to have grown up in. Being a remote intern, I did my testimony via Zoom. Although I had prepped and worked with Yokiko Hayashi-Saguil, my wonderful supervisor, I underestimated all the nerves that hit me once I turned my camera on and saw the timer start counting down.
After completing my 90-second testimony, I felt extremely proud of myself. Next time I think I can do it without shaking (probably). I was greeted with support and words of congratulations by State Board staff, and it really made me feel so much gratitude again for this internship. The best part of all this is that it’s only just the beginning. I look forward to the next time I can fill you in on all the exciting stuff this Legislative Sponge has taken in!