MONMOUTH – Leading tours at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and interning for a congressman for the summer sounds like fun, right?
Juliana Cameron, an incoming junior and returning volleyball player at Western Oregon University, thought so.
“It was a really great; I enjoyed every minute of it,” she said. “I think it really opened my eyes up to what I could do in the future.”
Cameron spent seven weeks this summer interning for Rep. Dan Newhouse where she was immersed in the daily functions of the government.
“Primarily I did constituent relations, so I was answering phone calls when constituents would call with concerns. I drafted some letters that addressed some concerns of the constituents. I led a lot of tours around the Capitol, which was really fun, because I got to learn a lot of information about the history of the capitol. And other random, everyday assignments.”
There were some moments that especially stood out for her.
“I got to draft a few speeches that were given on the House floor, so that was probably the coolest thing that I did,” Cameron said. “I was given the opportunity by the staff to put together a speech, so that was cool.”
Cameron said pursuing an internship in college is helpful for many reasons.
“I think it’s important to get experience so you don’t end up in a career you don’t want,” she said. “With an internship, it’s like a test run; you can pick your interests and pursue them, and then if it’s not what you want, you can change directions. I think everyone should do internships because they can be really beneficial.”
Internships open doors and expand your horizons, giving you insight on opportunities you might not have otherwise know about, Cameron said.
“My major is business and public health, and so I wasn’t really sure what I wanted out of that,” she said. “I was thinking of health care management, because I knew going into that, it was going to be a safe bet for me, but after going to D.C., I realized that I really do like policy, so now I’m leaning more towards a think tank or lobbying for a nonprofit. I think it helped me realized there are so many different opportunities with the different areas of interest that I have.”
Most days were busy during the seven weeks Cameron was in D.C. — but she did have some time off to play and explore.
“Me and my brother and his girlfriend, we just decided, ‘You know what, let’s go to New York.’ So we got on a bus, rode four hours to New York, and we were in New York for four hours, and then we turned around and got back on a bus and drove back four hours in the same day. So it was fun,” she said. “Definitely worth the experience because we had never been to New York.”
She didn’t get to meet President Donald Trump, “but I did get to tour his house,” she said.
Obtaining an internship, especially in Washington, D.C., can sound intimidating, but the process isn’t complicated, Cameron said.
“They are always looking for someone to come in. They’ll work with you,” she said. “You help them, and they wanna get you the experience. It’s not too hard to apply. Any member, you can go to their website and apply for internships. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get one — there are so many.”
Most internships last longer than seven weeks, but Cameron wanted to make sure she had time to join her volleyball team in summer training.
“They were, like, ‘Oh we wish you could have stayed a little longer,’ but … our coach wanted us to be here for the summer, and I was already so scared because I was, like, ‘Oh no I’m going to be missing all of the training all summer.’”
Now that she’s back in Monmouth, Cameron is preparing for the start of the 2019 season.
“We’re getting thrown into three-a-day practices, so that will be a bit of a change from working, but I’m excited,” she said. “I’m excited for this school year, especially because now I have some direction on what I want to pursue.”
The volleyball season opens on Sept. 6, with the Concordia Tournament in Portland.