Summer CHIP Fellow Darius Stenstedt Shares His Capitol Hill Experience

By Darius Stenstedt

Darius Stenstedt interned with Congressman Tony Cardenas during Summer 2021. This Fall, Darius transitioned to work for Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

I have just finished my Summer internship on Capitol Hill in the Office of Congressman Tony Cardenas from California’s 29th district. As a legislative intern, I have had the opportunity to perform research on a variety of policies including immigration, criminal justice reform, education and COVID-19. Being an intern in the House, I got to read, hear, and see exactly what the Representative’s constituents were requesting of him. The most important job of an intern is to manage and track constituent communications. The way in which the public interacts with their representatives has rapidly changed and it is the priority of the representing office to evolve alongside these changes.

I encourage young people to get involved with government, whether it be at the state, local, or national level, because participating in the policymaking process is immensely gratifying and invaluable.  The people in Rep. Cardenas’ office were some of the most accomplished and generous people I have ever met, and I am grateful for their continued mentorship and friendship as I move forward with my studies and career. 

As an Iranian American, I feel a great responsibility to be involved in the political process, particularly in our current political climate. The representation of Iranian Americans in public affairs and government is critical to ensuring that Iranian Americans are treated with dignity and respect in the eyes of the law.  

This experience helped me to connect my political passions to my goals and I have learned so much. It was an honor to be selected as the Summer 2021 CHIP Fellow, and I am lucky to have this internship, my experiences, and the support of PAAIA as I progress in my future. The new administration has a mountain of work to do and I am excited to what the next few years hold for all the issues and situations we champion to improve. 

To learn more about the Capitol Hill Internship Program, visit the CHIP page or email Aman Ardalan at aman@paaia.org. PAAIA recently announced our Fall 2021 Fellows, and will be opening the application process for Spring 2022 in the coming months.

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