On Capitol Hill

SPRING16meet-annalee-ashley

Internship Leads to Capitol Hill

Business marketing major Annalee Ashley graduated from Georgia Southern in May 2014, and moved straight into a coveted legislative internship in Washington D.C. Months later, the former SOAR leader and 2013 Homecoming Queen, landed a full-time job in our nation’s seat of power as an aide in the Executive Office of the Secretary of the Senate on Capitol Hill. Georgia Southern magazine caught up with Ashley to discuss her experiences on Capitol Hill and working with an “array of offices and services to expedite the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Senate.”

How did you end up in D.C.?
I initially came to D.C. through the Eagles in D.C. program as a legislative intern for U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia and fell in love with the city.

How did you obtain your current position?
My first full-time job on Capitol Hill was with the Senate Rules Committee. While there, I coordinated the Congressional Intern Lecture Series where I arranged for speakers — including Supreme Court Justices, the Secretary of Homeland Security and Chuck Todd, moderator of (the NBC Sunday morning program) “Meet the Press,” among others — to come in to meet Capitol Hill interns. While working for the Committee, I interacted with the Secretary’s office and gained an appreciation for what the office is responsible for. I jumped at the chance when I was given the opportunity to join the Executive Office of the Secretary of the Senate.

What are your main responsibilities in this position?
In my current position, I assist the Secretary of the Senate and the Assistant Secretary in their roles as the chief financial, administrative and legislative officers of the Senate. The Executive Office oversees 26 departments that support the Senate as an institution ranging from the legislative clerks to Senate Security to Interparliamentary Services.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this endeavor?
Stepping out of my comfort zone and making the decision to move to D.C. was the most challenging, as well as the most rewarding aspect of my endeavor. I have gained incomparable experience in a short amount of time due to the fast-paced environment of Capitol Hill, and I have met numerous people who have each inspired me in different ways.

What is your favorite thing about living in the D.C. area?
The energy here is contagious, and everyone you meet has a unique story to tell. There is so much going on here, too, whether it’s a protest on the West Lawn of the Capitol or a festival on the National Mall.

What have you learned since being on Capitol Hill?
The legislative process is strategic and multifaceted. You learn about it in history classes your whole life, but until you get here you can’t really understand how it all works together. There are many players and brilliant minds working to get legislation passed, and it’s fun to take a peek into the strategy behind it all.

What has surprised you most?
How young people can really make a difference in our government. It is remarkable the amount of responsibility you can have at a young age here if you are interested, engaged and actively seek out the opportunities.

How has your Georgia Southern education influenced your life?
The leadership experience I gained in college prepared me to be both marketable and successful in the professional arena. As a result, I have been able to meet many great Georgia Southern alumni working in D.C. who have gone out of their way to help me get where I am.

What do you miss most about Georgia Southern?
Game day at Paulson Stadium, being within a five-mile radius of all of my friends and the weather. Seasons are great and all, but nothing beats the Georgia heat.

Is your True Blue spirit on display?
Of course! I represent Georgia Southern in my office and in my apartment, and I always have a Georgia Southern koozie on game day, especially when the UGA game is on.

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