Kitt Urdang ’23.5

Office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Washington, D.C.

Working from home.

This summer, I had the opportunity to serve as a legislative intern in the Washington, D.C., Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal. I worked remotely alongside 10 other college students and recent graduates to assist the office with legislative research and constituent services. I entered the internship hoping to learn more about how legislation passes through Congress, what responsibilities different staffers hold, and to deep-dive into one or two policy issues.

Every day, we would have a group intern meeting with our supervisors and listen to any new information from within the office. Throughout the day, we were assigned constituent-oriented tasks like logging voicemails and sorting emails, scanned mail, and faxes. After we sorted these messages, they would be sent on to the proper staff to ensure each constituent received a satisfactory response from the Senator. In addition, I attended virtual briefings and hearings by advocacy organizations and Congressional committees in order to write memos that both summarized and analyzed their content for staffers. I also researched gun laws in various states for Senator Blumenthal’s associate counsel on the Judiciary Committee. When we weren’t doing constituent work or writing memos, there was plenty of opportunity to network on the Hill. Our intern coordinators set up Zoom calls with staffers covering a variety of portfolios and areas around the office, so we got to hear about what it was like to work on legislation, on casework, and in management.

We also spent a lot of time working on our policy memos, which were self-driven research projects with legislative analysis on a topic of our choosing. I focused on air pollution from personal vehicles and the solutions necessary to save lives by making the air cleaner in Connecticut’s towns and cities. I grew up in Stamford, which is one of the many cities and towns along the Interstate 95 Northeastern corridor that has high levels of air pollution due to the cars and trucks that pass by on the highway. I researched and proposed alternative transportation solutions like electric school buses and improved rail service and then analyzed their impact, cost, and the feasibility of their implementation given the current state of Congress. I was able to seek information and advice from climate change policy experts and Senator Blumenthal’s legislative staffer in charge of infrastructure. This topic was incredibly interesting and important because it sits at the intersection of public health, racial justice, and environmental issues. I am really proud of how my policy memo turned out and excited to see how I can work on more legislative issues in the future.

I am extremely grateful to the Estate of George Mead and to the Williams College ’68 Center for Career Exploration. It has been an honor to represent Williams in my work at the Senate, and I look forward to continuing work in public service next summer and after graduation.