Chiemi Kamaka ’23

Office of U.S. Representative Ed Case, Washington, D.C.

I had the privilege of working for the Office of the Honorable Ed Case, Representative for Hawaii’s first district. I was exceedingly fortunate that our office was able to work in person for most of my internship, which also allowed me to enjoy an immersive summer in D.C.

With Congressman Case (HI-01).

Although I was expected to do typical intern duties (such as batch mail and answer phones), our office’s two intern policy offered extraordinary advantages that many other interns did not have, including increased access to staff and legislative work. I would later discover that many interns may be sequestered to the lobby of their office, seldom given the chance to write bill evaluations or policy memos. Thankfully, I was right in the thick of the office, joining in spirited discussions, working closely with staff on their projects, and engaging in meetings with the congressman and his constituents. The staff ran like a well-oiled machine, and the team was passionate and knowledgeable about their issue areas and were more than willing to share and impart those enthusiasms for helping others onto us. We rotated working with each member of the staff, learning about each of their portfolios through fascinating conversations, memos, and evaluations. This gave me the opportunity to taste a little of everything, discovering new interests in foreign affairs, health policy, and government oversight.

This invaluable experience has heavily influenced my trajectory forward, affirming my passion for policy and advocacy while also providing much needed reassurance for my journey forward. This internship could not have come at a better time, given my recent decision to chart a new path away from the safe, stable medical field, which inflamed my aversion to the nebulous. Prior to this internship, I wasn’t quite sure what jobs were out there for people with ambiguous interests in politics and policy. All the job descriptions I could find seemed dubious and imprecise. Blunt exposure to the “iron triangle” showed me the wealth of possibilities waiting for me after Williams and will undoubtably inform my course decisions for the remainder of my time here. Although I am still uncomfortable with the vague aspects of my trajectory forward, I am encouraged by the strength of my desire to return to D.C. to continue working with such inspiring people.

None of this would have been possible without the generous help of the Estate of George Mead and our wonderful ’68 Center for Career Exploration. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to explore this grand city, discover new passions, and perform such fulfilling work. Thank you!