Political science student details internship with LGBTQ+ Victory Institute in Washington, D.C.
By Alexandra Gregorio
Last fall, fourth-year political science student Edwin Madrid interned with the LBGTQ+ Victory Institute as part of the fall 2022 Victory Congressional Internship cohort. Madrid was one of eight students selected for the 10-week program, working with a member of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus or an LGBTQ-friendly member of the U.S. Congress to experience the federal legislative process firsthand.
The first half of the program included a variety of developmental workshops.
“Each Friday was different. One day we were learning about queer history, going to a Smithsonian Museum and learning about the intersectionality of identities. The next, we were listening to and asking panelists questions about their careers, with speakers ranging from campaign managers to White House staffers,” Madrid said.
For the second half of the internship, students applied to work for a member of Congress directly. Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado’s 1st Congressional District, based in Denver, hired Madrid.
“Some of the things I was tasked with were writing constituent response letters regarding issues, answering phones, attending briefings, getting coffee for the congresswoman at times, helping reintroduce and take over bills from retiring members of Congress and more. I had a lot of flexibility to work on issues that I was interested in such as immigration, gun reform and food insecurity,” Madrid said.
Madrid appreciated finding an internship that not only related to his major, but also provided space and community for his queer identity. He was interested in this program because he “wanted a D.C. experience that had a tie to the LGBTQ+ community rather than a regular D.C. internship that simply places you in an office.”
Additionally, he received course credit for the internship by enrolling in POLS 386: Government Internship. This allowed him to remain a full-time student while away.
Because his internship took place during the Midterm elections, Madrid shared concerns with his peers about how the office where he worked might be affected by a changing Congress. He recalls that some of the other members of his fall cohort, “were worried... about how their home states would change, what discriminatory bills would be allowed to be pushed through in a few weeks and if they would be denied certain rights in the following weeks.”
“I have known that queer spaces are important, but moments like this and others throughout the program reminded me how important visibility is, not just for my home state or where I am living at the moment, but throughout the entire country and abroad,” Madrid said.
After graduating this spring, Madrid plans to take a gap year before applying to graduate programs.
“Some of the programs are in Congress, and others in the California State Capitol. People from the office I worked in and people I met while in D.C. have alluded to different job opportunities after I graduate,” Madrid said.
“I have no set plans and I am open to a lot of different opportunities, which is both exciting and terrifying, not knowing what comes next.”