CHIP Alumni Hanna Ahmaripour Shares Her Capitol Hill Experience

By Hanna Ahmaripour

Hanna Ahmaripour interned with Senator Blumenthal during Fall 2021. She is a graduate student at American University where she pursues a Master’s degree in Public Administration & Policy.

Over the course of the Fall 2021 semester, I had the opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill with the office of Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, where I worked as a Legislative Intern. I began this internship in September, where I assisted the office with constituent outreach and various legislative duties. I was also honored to be selected as a PAAIA CHIP Fellow for Fall 2021 where I was able to attend events and network with numerous other Iranian Americans who have experience working on the Hill and beyond. 

Due to COVID restrictions, a majority of this internship was facilitated through Zoom but we were lucky enough to be given a few opportunities to go in person to the office to explore the Capitol complex and meet with various staffers. I was given many opportunities to perform research on a variety of policies I was extremely interested in including women’s rights, criminal justice reform, foreign affairs, immigration, environment, and budgeting. Interning for Senator Blumenthal was an extremely rewarding experience considering how seriously he takes his constituent feedback to review what topics Connecticut voters care most about.

Interning in the Senate allowed me to see and review exactly what our constituents requested of the senator along with their thoughts on his varying policies; and not just from Connecticut voters but from constituents all along the nation. I fairly enjoyed this part of my roles and responsibilities because it granted me a firsthand look into the way the public interacts with their representatives. Another rewarding aspect of my internship was the knowledge I gained on various different policy topics through my conversations with fellow staffers. The relationships I built throughout this internship will be carried with me as I narrow down my interests in politics. 

I am also extremely grateful for the experiences I had networking through PAAIA with past CHIP fellows and learning about their current work on the Hill and beyond; and I am looking forward to continuing to network through future PAAIA events once pandemic restrictions ease up. As an Iranian American attaining her Master’s in Public Administration and Policy, I am so thankful for PAAIA and their leadership throughout this internship experience. PAAIA has allowed me to feel comfortable by acting as a support system for any questions or concerns I had while interning on the Hill. This experience helped connect me with my political passions in a way I had never done before, and I am looking forward to working with future Iranian Americans in the field of politics! 

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