Name: Liz Kunkel
Class Year: 2021
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Upper Black Eddy. Pa.
Internship Organization: State Rep. Wendy Ullman
Job Title: Constituent Services Intern
Location: Doylestown, Pa.
As a constituent services intern in state Rep. Wendy Ullman’s district office, much of my day-to-day responsibilities include handling constituent casework. Because of the broad range of needs and concerns of our community, these responsibilities can include conducting legislative research, connecting with local nonprofits, and acting as a liaison between the constituent and state agencies. One of the challenges of this position is that each case is unique, meaning that each new constituent contact requires a certain level of problem solving and creativity.
In addition, I have done a lot of community outreach, trying to inform constituents about state services, along with the help we can offer. This includes writing letters, drafting articles, and helping to plan events. One of my biggest projects has been coordinating vendors for a community day the representative hosted this August. This project helped me to gain a lot of organizing and communication skills. I really enjoyed having a large project in which I could see all of my work come to fruition.
I decided to apply for this internship for two reasons: my interest in politics and the proximity to my community. I have always believed that legislation is one of the most effective ways to bring change, so I was excited to receive the opportunity to facilitate community participation in that process. The benefit of working at this level of government is that I experience a lot of direct contact with the community.
As part of my internship, I get to attend events held by nonprofits and talk to the people there about what their needs and concerns are. I attended and participated in Bucks Knocks Out Hunger, a large fundraiser to fight food insecurity, and packed food that would later be distributed to those in need. I also had the privilege to attend a naturalization ceremony at Penn Manor and meet with the League of Women Voters, which was registering the newly naturalized citizens to vote.
One of the most rewarding parts of my internship is getting to handle my own casework. One of the most challenging things is telling a constituent that we do not have an answer or cannot help them the way they need us to. I learn a lot through trying to help other people, and it is fulfilling when you find them an answer or solution. Because of the breadth of assistance we provide, I am constantly learning new things as I handle constituent concerns. Tackling these cases has helped me develop the problem solving and executive skills necessary to thrive in the workplace and at Bryn Mawr.