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Political Aspirations – Robert Morris Student Interns in D.C.

Jeffrey Crooks used to work at Chuck E. Cheese’s, where he sometimes stepped into the shoes of the big mouse himself. This past summer Jeff got a chance to step into some even bigger shoes—at least figuratively—when he served interned for U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in Washington, D.C.

Originally from Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood, Jeff is a junior communication/journalism major at RMU, specializing in political science. Last spring, he started looking for an internship and put the word out on Facebook. Jeff’s cousin, who lives in D.C., saw his post and told Jeff he could stay with her when he found one. After researching various governmental representatives, he decided to apply to be a press intern for Sen. Casey.

“I liked what he stood for,” says Jeff, “so I thought it would be a good fit.”

Jeff interviewed with the deputy press secretary in February and was awarded a summer internship, which ran from July 5 through August 19. He spent his days in the press office of the Russell Senate Office Building, walking past the Supreme Court and Capitol on his way to work. In the mornings they’d compile mentions of Sen. Casey from print and TV; in the afternoons they’d peruse Pennsylvania newspapers for news that was relevant to the senator’s and his staff’s goals throughout the state. He also managed the press office phone line and wrote press releases.

“It was my real first experience within the political field,” says Jeff, “and it was a really good one to have.”

In addition, Jeff attended an intern lecture series where he had the opportunity to hear from senators, congressmen, and court justices, and he even played Senate Softball on the National Mall with other Senate offices. He was even in the House Gallery when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned for the first time for the debt ceiling bill vote.

Jeff says the internship gave him an idea of what he’d like to do for his career. “I definitely want to work in a political office environment,” he says. Right now he’s making plans to return to Washington for another internship next fall.

At Robert Morris Jeff serves as the assistant news editor for The Sentry, president of the Society for Collegiate Journalists, secretary of Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, and manager of RMU’s Division I Softball team. He has two older sisters, one of whom, Kayla, graduated from RMU last spring with a degree in communications and now works in the university’s athletic department.

Written by Valentine J. Brkich


You can help RMU students like Jeff benefit from an engaged, quality education by donating to the President’s Fund for Engaged Learning. In the past, President Dell’Omo has used this fund to increase scholarships and financial aid, send students abroad and to conventions, improve technology throughout campus, and support students in countless other ways.

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