2016 Winter Interns
Andrew Niiro and Will Mesinger
Andrew Niiro (pictured left) recently graduated with a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Long Beach. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, he joined the Peace Corps in El Salvador. Will Mesinger (pictured right) is a recent graduate of St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor’s degree in Government. He most recently worked as a Research Assistant at St. Lawrence University and helped contribute to an upcoming biography of Robert Parris Moses, a leader of the Civil Rights movement. He has also worked at the State Department and as an intern with Congressman Paul Tonko’s office.
1. Why did you pursue an internship with CHA? What were you hoping to work on or learn about?
Andrew: "I pursued an internship with CHA because I had just completed my Master of Public Administration degree and wanted to get some experience about the administrative aspect of the House of Representatives. I was hoping to learn about what could be qualified as official resources for the Member Representational Allowance and I wanted to learn about the Franking process. I also wanted to get experience working for a Committee to understand the legislative process, about new proposed legislation, and the role of the Committee."
Will: "I cultivated an interest in the history of the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for voting rights as a student at St. Lawrence University. The Committee on House Administration oversees federal elections, so it seemed like a great fit, especially during an election year. Furthermore, I hoped that working on a House Committee would allow me to interact with a range of different offices. It definitely has done that."
2. What are your plans after completing this internship?
Andrew: "I hope to get a job with a Member of Congress, either in their DC office or their District Office. If not, I plan on returning to Southern California and pursuing a position in local government."
Will: "I’ll be working in Washington D.C. as an Associate with a private government affairs and public relations firm."
3. What did you learn from your time here with the Committee, or what has been your most rewarding experience?
Andrew: "My most rewarding experience has been being part of New Member Orientation. It was educational through both work experience and learning about starting a new office. I gained a lot of experience through event planning and being able to answer Members’ questions as best as I could. I also learned a lot about what new Members must do in order to set up their offices, hire staff, and be part of the legislative process."
Will: "I’m grateful to have learned more about the modern struggle for voting rights, and to have acquired a nuanced understanding of election laws on a state-by-state basis. Also, I’ve come to understand the rules that govern the internal operations of the House. Although the administrative operations of the Committee are often completed behind-the-scenes, such procedures are needed to sustain the functionality of the House and prevent the abuse of power and privilege."
4. What advice would you give to the next incoming intern?
Andrew: "I would tell the next intern to not be afraid of asking questions and to attend as many briefings and informational sessions as possible. This internship is an incredible opportunity to learn. Asking the House Administration Committee staff questions when you are curious about something is the best way to learn about it. Attending sessions will allow you to be able to learn about how the House of Representatives operates as a whole and not just leave you with knowledge limited to the Committee."
Will: "Take advantage of every opportunity; attend briefings, lunches and lectures. You never know who you’ll meet. Also, it goes without saying, but work hard. People will notice."