What the Wolanin Internship Did for Its First Intern Brandy Dailey

The first Thomas R. Wolanin intern, Brandy Dailey is pictured here with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR).

January 11, 2021

By Holly Hexter

The Thomas R. Wolanin Congressional Internship Program is designed to provide individuals who are in the first generation of their families to graduate from college with an opportunity to observe the federal policy-making process first-hand and to participate in that process.

What led you to apply to the internship?

Before I got the internship — being a first-generation student, it was always a dream to live and work in Washington, D.C. but the opportunity to actually do something on your bucket list — that feeling is very hard to describe. It was an incredible experience. There is something to being in Washington, D.C., to going to Congress, that is just amazing…

It’s an exciting time to be in D.C. because of the new administration. I hope the next intern takes the opportunity to fully experience all that D.C. has to offer.

What did the Internship give you?

It gave me the confidence to apply for the job I have today: community response facilitator for the ACADV. I work for the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence in all 75 counties, and it’s an enormous responsibility. When I was in D.C. and learning how to research issues on a national scale, I picked up on skills I didn’t even know I was lacking. When the job came up, I instantly applied.

[In my current job] They’ve let me take the initiative to establish a legislative review committee working with state legislators in both parties to research policy issues that impact domestic violence in families. [The organization is} very trauma-informed and based on the principle of empowerment. I’m also mentoring students who are looking for internship opportunities, including a few law students, and giving them a different perspective on their career paths. As a first-gen student, I never expected to graduate from college, let alone have college students knocking on my door.

[Hear former Wolanin intern Phyliss St-Hubert reflect on her time in the program]

What advice would you give applicants?

If someone’s going to apply for the program, they should work with their current employer or TRIO program. During the application process, my supervisor helped me figure out how the internship would fit into my career plan. I’ve also been a public policy junkie, loved seeing the impact policy can have on everyday lives. I would say, go into it with your eyes wide open, this is not just a summer internship, but it’s a real opportunity to develop your career, and that’s kind of priceless.

COE is now accepting applications for the 2021 Thomas R. Wolanin Congressional Internship. Download the 2021 internship application and apply here Document is available for download (.pdf). The application deadline is February 1.