“Washington interns straddle two worlds, a left-behind college campus where nose rings reign and a high-powered city dotted with power ties.”
Washington Post Intern Message Board

Introduction and Overview

Capitol Hill interns are a curious bunch. These industrious students make annual summer treks to Washington, DC in search of jobs that require making photocopies and giving tours, and which pay very little, if anything. They travel thousands of miles from all over the country in search of these opportunities often using savings to pay for housing and living expenses in one of the most expensive cities in America.

Last year intern-related conflicts and scandals dominated the airwaves and our survey. Now, however, Monica Lewinsky has gone from making headlines to making reality TV shows, and Chandra Levy has been replaced by Laci Peterson as the latest Modesto puzzler. As the last fateful acts of terrorism that rocked the nation draw nearer to their two year anniversary, we think of interns less as crusaders braving terrorist threats and dodging politicians’ advances, and more as regular college students, here to gain some real-world work experience and make professional contacts.

This change in the way that one may think about interns called for a drastic revision of last year?s intern survey to more accurately gauge the way that interns think about themselves. We have replaced questions measuring interoffice flirting and fear about future terrorism with questions relating to on-campus political and social culture. Questions on intern aspirations, and of course, ‘hooking up,’ which transcend current events, have been retained and updated.

This research initiative engaged Capitol Hill interns as a unique study population to which questions pertaining to campus political ideology, college social culture, and “hooking-up” were posed. The revelations of a coterie of politically interested young men and women’s self-descriptions bust stereotypes and challenge the conventional portrayal of them by most media. The findings are illustrative, and in some cases staggering.

It is important to note that these findings can only be generalized to the population of Interns on Capitol Hill — not to college students in general.

Click here to read the complete study.