Week 10: I know what you did last summer...

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Sunday, August 9, 2020


Kyle Blasinsky

My what a summer it’s been too (no vehicular homicide though, don’t worry). Also, let the record show that I’m combining the week nine and week ten journals here, because I did wrap my internship up early with the start of graduate school and all. So far so good with graduate school, but I did have a homework due Friday morning which also happened to be the day of our final presentations for SPS. It was a late night to say the least, but I digress.

In this final post, I’d first like to express immense thanks for everyone who made the summer exciting, educational, meaningful, and fun. To the Society of Physics Students, especially Kayla Stephens, Mikayla Cleaver, & Brad Conrad; the American Institute of Physics; Dr. John Mather; Rep. Bill Foster and the IL-11 Team, especially Hector Arias, Scott Shewcraft, Samantha Warren, Merit Schumaker, Elise Sugarman, Diem-Mi Lu, Maggie Schmidt, Greg Cybulski, & Grecia Benitez; and of course, all my fellow SPS interns, thank you, thank you, thank you. As rough as 2020 has been, this summer certainly represents a high that I hope I can ride well into 2021 and beyond. Know that each of you were pivotal to the success of the summer, and I cannot thank you all enough for that.

To all you future interns reading this, now might be a good time to tell you what I actually did on the Hill. Well, to make a long story short, I wrote lots of memos. Most of these pertained to bills that Rep. Foster was considering cosponsoring and the rest were related to telebriefings.

In the former case, if another Representative wanted Rep. Foster to cosponsor a bill of theirs, on occasion, the task of assessing that bill would be assigned to me. I would proceed to research the bill, try understanding the context surrounding the bill, figure out what problem the bill tries to address, and read the bill to see what the bill would do precisely. With all that info in hand, I would set about summarizing background, the essence of the bill, and arguments for and against supporting the legislation. All this culminates in a final recommendation to cosponsor the bill or not.  

In the case of telebriefings, a similar process took place. Occasionally, think tanks, lobbyists, or interest groups would hold talks, roundtables, or presentations on certain topics of interest for congressional staff, and I’d be asked to attend. Whenever I’d attend one of these events (virtually, of course), I’d summarize the content of the talk and make a point of emphasizing policy suggestions or priorities that had come up. These memos were much more straightforward than memos for cosponsorship; they didn’t require any extra research or anything, but they were an interesting way to get exposed to new and interesting fields of public policy.

But that was the majority of the summer, reading and memoing. As a future law student, it was a pretty sweet gig, not going to lie. It really, truly was a wonderful experience. Rep. Foster’s staff was great, the SPS staff was awesome, and the other interns were fantastic. If science policy is something you’re interested in, I highly recommend you apply for this internship. Corona or not, I’m sure glad I did. Now, on to the next adventure I suppose.

Stay well,

Kyle Blasinsky