“Working for Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R, Seventh District, Tennessee) was such a dream,” Freed-Hardeman University senior Sutherland Shrader said about her summer internship in Washington, D.C. The public relations major from Columbia, Tennessee, spent eight weeks in the nation’s capital working with Blackburn’s communications director.
In addition to such routine tasks as answering the phone, delivering mail and greeting guests, Shrader gave tours of the Capitol Building to constituents. She also wrote columns and press releases on legislation up for debate. In addition, she created a social media campaign for the office’s Military Service Academy Day. Shrader also enjoyed attending some briefings on behalf of the congressman’s legislative director.
The internship gave her direction for her future career, she said. There’s a reason for that minor in political science she is pursuing. “I learned a lot about political communications and really enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at the congressional processes. Returning to D.C. is definitely something I am interested in doing at some point,” she said.
Given that interest, she was pleased to “rub elbows with all the political elite,” she said. “I was surprised at how often I ran into other congressmen when Congress was in session.”
Shrader has high praise for Blackburn, someone she said she has long admired.
“The congressman is so welcoming, friendly and down to earth,” she said. “She loves talking about her family and was very interested in getting to know the other interns and me.”
Many of the interns never get to meet the congressman they work for, according to Shrader. “I loved that Congressman Blackburn was never too busy to start a small conversation with us in the office,” she said.
158 East Main Street
Henderson, TN 38340
FHU / Dickson
FHU / Memphis
5565 Shelby Oaks Drive
Memphis, TN 38134
855 Highway 46 South
Dickson, TN 37055
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