My Summer Experience: Kasie Durkit
Intern at the Office of Betty Sutton
My Summer Experience
Kasie Durkit, Sophomore
Studying History, Political Science and Women's Studies
Intern at the Office of Congresswoman Betty Sutton
"And what are you going to do with that?" is a question I am frequently asked when I say that I am working towards my History, Political Science and Women's Studies degrees. My reply: achieve the leadership position that Congresswoman Betty Sutton now holds, as she strives to serve others within the community of District 13 while representing her constituents in Congress.
I figured the best place to start achieving this goal was right from the source: as an intern at Congresswoman Betty Sutton's office.
Beginning May 7, 2012, at 9 a.m., I became an intern at the John F. Seiberling Federal Building in Akron, Ohio, volunteering my time six hours a day, four days a week to be as helpful as possible within the office of the Congresswoman. Catherine Breck, who was my supervisor during the entire internship, not only showed me the ropes in the office from beginning to end, but also displayed what it took to be the Congresswoman's right hand woman. Ms. Breck, as well as the District Director Samantha Herd, and the caseworkers Jason Grenfell and Pamela Walker, comprised the Congresswoman's dedicated team in Akron. These people are essential to making sure that the community is served - whether that is by answering questions about Social Security, sending letters of support, or working one on one with Veteran's to make sure that they get the care and attention they need. Surely, I could not have learned from a more committed, diligent and intelligent team of people.
My tasks as an intern predominantly included taking telephone calls from constituents in the community, then either answering their questions myself or distributing their calls throughout the office or to the Congresswoman's other offices, including the campaign, Lorrain or Washington D.C. offices. If I was not taking telephone calls, I would record daily events and any mentions of the Congresswoman in local newspapers, retrieve, send, and open mail, or log constituents concerns into an internet database to be addressed by members of the D.C. office. I found that what seemed like menial tasks were truly important to the Congresswoman maintaining a connection to the community.
My favorite and most rewarding tasks, however, were ones that directly benefited members of District Thirteen. This included assisting the Congresswoman in writing personal letters of congratulations to Eagle Scouts and students completing their GED education, or even sending certificates to students graduating middle school. The Congresswoman and her team's efforts to recognize the accomplishments of the community are certainly rewarding to those who receive them, and I was happy to be a part of this process.
I was fortunate enough to share breakfast with the Congresswoman at the Copley Fire Station Pancake Breakfast towards the end of the summer, and I can tell you that she is one inspiring woman. She walks right up to constituents offering her hand, and asks them directly what she could do for him or her. Congresswoman Betty Sutton tirelessly meets with each person, listening and offering advice or help to those around her. She tells you upfront about bills she cosponsored that affect the constituent she is speaking to, and the Congresswoman is honest about what is not being done or what needs to be done within the district.
I have no authority to say what makes a successful or unsuccessful Congressman/woman, yet I do know that the qualities she emanates are ones I will try to imitate myself if I run for public office. Until then, I will continue to serve my fellow falcons at BGSU as a tour guide, fitness instructor, and TA while working towards my History, Political Science and Women's Studies degrees to continue serving others in the future.