Angela Noe and Jennifer Beaver - Paralegal
Two North Central State College students recently returned from Washington, D.C., but they weren’t on vacation. Mansfield resident Angela Noe and Wooster resident Jennifer Beaver spent the first half of spring semester as interns in the Capitol Hill office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
The two second-year Paralegal Studies majors worked alongside staff members to address constituent requests and concerns. In Washington, D.C., a typical day could include speaking with constituents on the phone, greeting visitors to the office, organizing incoming correspondence, attending Senate committee hearings and briefings, and leading tours of the U.S. Capitol building.
“My favorite experience in the office was legislative research,” Beaver said. “Going back in history and applying it to today is always a fun lesson and doesn’t really seem like work.”
A 1999 Madison Comprehensive High School graduate, Noe said, “I enjoyed all aspects of my work experience. However, I would have to say my favorite experience was attending Senate hearings.”
While surrounded by well-known government officials, the NC State students said they didn’t interact with many. “I saw many politicians working on Capitol Hill, but I never got the chance to personally introduce myself,” Beaver said. “Senator Brown was the only politician I had the pleasure of working for, introducing myself and carried a conversation with. I have always respected him as a politician, but it was affirmed how hard he works seeing him for myself.”
“Working in the Washington D.C. office of Senator Sherrod Brown is an exciting experience,” Noe said. “Senator Brown has a very impressive commitment to the working people of Ohio. With his efforts, my hometown (Mansfield) was able to keep the 179th Airlift Wing.”
Sen. Brown praised the NC State students. “Ohio students – like Angela and Jennifer – exemplify how strong families, teachers and Ohio communities continue to produce the next generation of world-class leaders,” Brown said. “An internship allows students from either Ohio schools or Ohio communities to serve their state while gaining invaluable experience by working on a wide range of projects.”
Noe said NC State courses helped prepare them for the experience. “The legal research and writing course I have taken prepared me for the research and writing I had to do for this internship,” she said. “The speech course I had to take made it easier to speak in front of people on an impromptu basis.”
A 2005 Cloverleaf High School graduate, Beaver concurred, saying, “Being that Congress is where law is made, all my law classes helped me in some manner when doing legislative research in different policy areas. My speech class also taught me how to address people and build my confidence.”
The seven weeks stay in D.C. wasn’t all work for the students. “My favorite experience apart from working was just being a normal tourist,” Beaver said. “I haven’t been to D.C. since I was in the eighth grade, and the only thing I remembered was a shopping mall. It was nice to see our nation’s capital and really appreciate its beauty.”
But the two agreed they prefer Ohio to Washington, D.C. “I have always thought that I would like to live in the city, but thanks to living in D.C., I now know city life is not for me,” Noe said.
“While I wouldn’t take back the experience of working in the Senator’s office, actually living in the city was most definitely not my most favorite part of the trip,” Beaver said. “It is loud, cramped and expensive; however, the two-minute walk to work did offset the annoyance of the city.”
While serving as interns, both Beaver and Noe lived in designated intern housing with other college students. The NC State students are older than most of the interns, however, and each is married with two children.
“As a ‘non-traditional’ student, there wasn’t a need to fit in with other interns at the apartment because I was with Angie,” Beaver said. “Together, when we were not at work, we focused on homework, talking with our families and sightseeing. As far as fitting in with the office, everyone on the Senator’s staff was truly so easy to work with. They were so kind and personable it made working in the office enjoyable.”
While neither intern’s family was able to visit Washington, D.C., they kept in touch with regular calls and Skype video calls. They also took advantage of the long Presidents Day weekend for a quick trip home.
Both were grateful for the support of their families that helped make the internship possible. “I had help from family and my husband (Seth),” Beaver said. “My family knew how important this was to me, and they contributed in any way they could, even when it did not include finances. They offered support and babysitting to keep my kids (Cohan, 2, and Preston, 5) out of daycare so I did not have that added cost.”
In addition to her husband, Adam, and children Amiah, 5, and Ethan, 11, Noe received support from several sources.
“First, I would like to express my gratitude to my professor, Mrs. Judith Sturgil, for having the confidence in my ability to handle this internship,” Noe said. “Secondly, I would like to thank Dr. Karen Reed (Vice President for Academic Services) for organizing a clothing donation as well as offering her support for this opportunity. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my family, friends, co-workers and classmates for their love and support throughout this experience. Without my enormous support system this experience would never have been possible.”
After receiving academic credit for the internship, the two were on track to graduate in May with their associate degrees in Paralegal Studies, and they did!
Beaver said she plans to continue her education. “I have always said I would love to be a Supreme Court justice, and obviously that is a very long time goal, but this experience has given me more motivation to work harder, further my education and just maybe, someday, you might see my name up on that bench.”
Both recommended other students seek similar experiences as interns. “I would most definitely recommend other NC State students pursue such internships so they could broaden their knowledge and enrich their lives,” Noe said.