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When she started college, Katelynn Anderson saw herself working at the United Nations or an international nongovernmental organization. By the time she graduated in December 2011, her sights had shifted to Capitol Hill.
Rep. Joe Baca’s (D-Calif.) new legislative correspondent studied international relations and Spanish studies at the University of Delaware.
It was a family member who suggested the Pennsylvania native give the world of politics a try. An aunt, who worked in political public relations, suggested she find a political internship.
“She was the one that helped me and told me to get involved that way,” Anderson said.
As a constituent services intern in the Philadelphia office of Sen. Bob Casey (D) during the summer of 2010, Anderson dealt with constituents eager to voice their opinions during the health care debate.
“I definitely got a lot of experience with handling constituents,” she said.
Her aunt’s instinct that Anderson would enjoy the internship was correct.
“She wanted me to see if I liked it,” Anderson said, “and I liked it.”
Anderson enjoyed working for the Senator so much that she came to work in his Washington office during the summer after her junior year. It was then that she decided she wanted to return to D.C. after graduation.
Even though she’s working on Capitol Hill, Anderson still gets a bit of a chance to pursue her interests in international affairs as legislative correspondent for Baca, former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“He’s really passionate about immigration issues. ... He’s big on rights in the Hispanic community,” she said.
Her background in Spanish helps her to interact with Baca’s Spanish-speaking constituents, she added.
“I think it’s a great fit here,” she continued.
For those looking to pursue their interests on the Hill, Anderson recommends keeping an open mind.
“Be open to other interests,” she said, “because it’s really hard to do exactly what you want to do.”