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Zach Riddle

Mass Communication

U.S. House of Representatives - Office of Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D.

What was the most exciting thing about your role?   

Though I found many parts of my experience to be fascinating, one thing that was consistently exciting to me was the atmosphere of Capitol Hill itself. The Hill is known for always being a bit hectic, the two months I spent there were particularly lively. Being surrounded by the constant buzz of activity was exhilarating, and I never fully got used to watching the news in one room and seeing it being made in the next.  

What surprised you most about your internship?   

One thing that consistently surprised me about working in Congress was how young the staff is. It was not uncommon to interact with an office where the average age of legislative and communication staff was around 25. Frequently, Legislative Assistants (the top staffers Members of Congress have regarding legislative issues) and even Communications Directors were only 2 years older than myself. This seems emblematic of the city of D.C. as a whole, especially as more young people become passionate about American politics. 

How did you apply your Liberal Arts-skills to your internship position?

Every day, employees in a Congressional office are expected to write and communicate at a level commensurate to the prestige of the office, and interns are no exception. The writing skills I polished at the Lamb School and as part of the Purdue Writing Lab were invaluable every day of my internship. The type of clear communication we strive for at Purdue is an asset in any industry, but in politics at any level it is an absolute necessity.  

How has your internship prepared you for your career?

My internship in Congressman Bucshon's office will be absolutely critical to my career. In addition to the invaluable behind-the-scenes look at how Congressional offices operate, it provided me a fantastic opportunity to build a network of resources in many different fields that will be invaluable in or outside of politics.