In her own words: SMWC senior shares “life-changing” internship experience at the statehouse

April 25th, 2017 | SMWC

Editor’s note: Kalea Ellis, a senior, shares the lessons she learned from her internship at the Indiana Statehouse this semester. SMWC students like Ellis benefit from opportunities and resources at the College. In this specific case, Ellis worked with the SMWC Career Development Center to complete her internship application, polish her résumé and prepare for a successful interview.

Ellis standing next to Senator Taylor
SMWC student Kalea Ellis with Senator Greg Taylor (D- Indianapolis).

Growing up, I’ve always had an interest in law and politics. A visit led by SMWC to the Indiana Statehouse once again sparked my interest in the world of politics. This motivated me to seek out additional information on the internship, eventually making the decision to apply for the program.

Out of 80 applicants, just 11 were chosen to staff the Democratic Senate Caucus for the 2017 legislative session. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the policy intern, who works directly with the policy director and all caucus members during session.

As the policy intern, I track state, local, and federal public policy issues to determine potential impacts to current state law as well as future legislative proposals. I also track/monitor all legislation as it moves through the legislative process for both house and senate bills, and draft memos/speaking points for the caucus members to use when they are in committee, discussing a bill on the Senate floor, or speaking to constituents.

Ellis standing with Representative Carson
Rep. André Carson (D-Indianapolis) poses for a photo with Kalea Ellis of Terre Haute.

This experience has been life-changing! It has allowed me to develop and further my professional skills; has given me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone which in turn has allowed me to prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to; and has led me to friendships that I will cherish for a very long time.  Along with the personal benefits I have gained from this internship, it has taught me the importance of policies and how imperative it is to be involved with the issues at hand. Before the internship I had a very basic knowledge of politics, and now I have a much more in-depth view as to what really goes on. I have learned that the process is very complex and takes am immense amount of time and effort to really understand.

This internship has led me to further seek out work within the political field. I’m not exactly sure where this opportunity will lead me, but I know my interest is in the political arena. I intend to work in the coming year to get experience in the field and then attend Law School. I am so grateful for this opportunity and highly encourage anyone who is interested or think they may be interested in politics to apply to the internship. It may be scary at first, I know I was terrified going in to the interview, but it pays off. I know you won’t regret this amazing and unique opportunity.

Kalea Ellis of Terre Haute is majoring in both business administration and human resources. She also has two minors: accounting and psychology.