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Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

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My Internship with the Library of Congress

With a passion for political journalism and the democratic process, broadcast media major, Leo Cosio, landed a communications internship at the Library of Congress via FIU in DC. Spending the summer in the nation’s capital has given him the chance to network, explore the city, and learn what it’s like to lead a political life.

In the following interview, Leo describes his involvement with Congress, his renewed sense of independence and how FIU helped him get there.

Major: Broadcast Media major, minor in Political Science

Where did you intern?
I interned at the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. It’s a government agency established in 1914 that serves as the public policy research arm of the United States Congress.

What did you do there?
As a communications intern there, I created content for our private Twitter account that only serves members of Congress and their staffs. I also tracked media inquiries made to our researchers about their reports and generally got to see how a government agency handles media requests from organizations like New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters and media entities around the world.

How did you get your internship?
I applied through the newsletter sent out by FIU in DC announcing internship and job opportunities in our nation’s capital. If you’re not already subscribed, check out this link: https://washingtondc.fiu.edu/students-careers/jobs-and-internships/index.html

What projects did you work on?
Aside from my daily duties, I recommended edits for the CRS.gov website in preparation for our first-ever public release of CRS reports in September, and I wrote spotlight articles featuring some of the great work our researchers are doing to advise Congress on current events.  

How did your internship connect back to your coursework?
Everything you do in media comes down to professionalism and knowing how to write well. So if it wasn’t for Alfred Soto and his Writing Skills class, I might not be where I am today.

What was the coolest thing that happened during your internship?
I would ask for permission from supervisors to go and just explore. The Library of Congress has three buildings that all connect to each other and the capitol by means of underground tunnels and trains. Being able to go places that are restricted to the average person and run into politicians with household names was the coolest thing about working on the Hill.

What did you like most about your experience?
There are two things I liked most about my experience over the summer. One is that powerful feeling you get when you see the U.S. Capitol from the backseat of an Uber or Lyft while on your way home. The second thing is that it’s so easy to get around the city. When you’re trying to save money, the D.C. Metro is an excellent alternative. The metro even has stops in Virginia and Maryland!

What did you learn about yourself?
It is possible for me to live on my own. The experience made me more independent, and it renewed my ambition.

How did the position increase your professional confidence?
I’m going to have to stop myself from bringing up my summer internship on Capitol Hill in conversation. The main benefit I received from the position is that I got a taste of what life is like in the center of the political world. For someone like me who wants to go into political journalism, this experience had to happen. Now I feel more prepared than ever to take the next step in my career.

How did you expand your professional network?
Everyone here has some connection to Miami. I got a part-time weekend job in Georgetown because of a Miami connection, and a co-worker of mine from Maryland has a cousin that graduated from FIU. There’s just too many FIU alumni for you not to run into someone that you’ll share that with. We have people everywhere!

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?”
Despite having the title “intern,” nothing is more real than feeling like you’re part of the democratic process. That’s exactly what you feel when working on the Hill at the Library of Congress, as a congressional staffer or intern, or at one of the agencies.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?
Just apply. It usually takes less than 30 minutes to apply to an internship. Have your faculty letters of recommendation and resume ready and go for it! On D.C. specifically, it is not out of reach. The FIU in DC office staff is there to help you with anything you need and will even help connect you with alumni that live in the area. Your FIU experience is what you make it, and there are internships waiting for you take advantage of.

Media Provided by: FIU in DC

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