The Intern Perspective A look into my internship with the Executive Office of Governor Rick Snyder, Communications Division

Welcome to my Internship Experience

Every day of my internship I took a photo of the Capitol and added it to my Snapchat story. As I proceeded through my internship, I realized I wanted to do something more with these photos than having them be posted temporarily on a social media outlet and that's why I created this project. On the days I forgot to document my activities, I will provide a fact of something I learned. I hope this allows you to learn more about Michigan, what it was like for me to be an intern in a government office and to love the Michigan Capitol as much as I do. I mean, I took a photo of it EVERY DAY I was in Lansing and I still feel that if there was building I could spend the rest of my life in, this would be it. Enjoy!

Additional information: The descriptions of each day come AFTER the photo. All the photos are mine EXCEPT the title slide and photo of Detroit. My photos might not be the highest quality since they were taken on my cell phone. The facts I present are from the tour I took of the Capitol. If a fact is incorrect, please let me know.

My view as I walked to my first day in the Governor's Executive Office.

January 9, 2017: It was a morning I will never forget, not because it was my first day, but because it was my first of many long walks (half a mile to be exact) to the George W. Romney building from where interns parked. I also learned the hard lesson of walking through snow in high heels and to always wear boots initially, then change once you get to the office. My first day consisted of learning the ropes of the offices, my daily duties to perform and attending an intern lunch for introductions.

From left to right: My view from the House of Representatives, a look inside the media room for the State of the State address, my credentials for the evening, a look at the Capitol at 11 p.m.

January 17, 2017: The State of the State Address. This will always be a highlight of my internship experience because I was able to help the communications office in various ways. I stood in the House of Representatives and helped the Governor identify where people would be sitting in the audience so he would know where to look. The other intern and I put together "press packets" for the multiple media outlets that would be covering the event. Later, we stood in the media room and watched as Governor Snyder delivered his speech. Not pictured above was the opportunity to mingle with other Michigan officials and government employees at the Governor's house after the address. This was the first time I met both the Governor and First Lady of Michigan and it was a special moment for me. The day was busy and the night was long, but driving home and seeing the Capitol illuminated left me with a smile of gratitude for the experience.

The Capitol at dawn.

January 24, 2017: This was the first day I put my writing to the test by writing a blog post for the Lieutenant Governor Michigan, Brian Calley. This assignment proved to have its challenges because each office has a unique writing style and I hadn't quite managed to master it yet. My supervisor sat down with me, made revisions and provided feedback to help me better understand their style. To read my blog post, click the button below:

A look up to the dome in the Capitol (left) and Governor Snyder (right) offering remarks at Michigan's birthday celebration.

January 26, 2017: I spent a portion of my day inside the Michigan Capitol to celebrate Michigan's 180th birthday. I listened as Governor Snyder, LG Calley, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Attorney General Bill Schuette, Democratic Leader Sam Singh and others spoke about our states rich history and Michigan's future. After attending the event and taking notes, I was assigned another blog post that allowed me to hone in on their writing style once again. To read my blog post, click the button below:

Photos from January 31- February 28.

Michigan Fact #1:

Did you know that at least the Governor or Lieutenant Governor has to be in Michigan at all times? So if the Governor travels out of state, the LG is required to stay in Michigan and vice versa. This ensures there is a leader present in the state in case there is an emergency or a leader is needed.

March 2, 2017: This was the day my video for the Governor was published on his YouTube channel. I had previous experience with video production from my internship with Channel 6 News in Lansing, but this was a skill I wanted to work on more. I was given the opportunity to do so by creating a "March is Reading Month" video by compiling footage, applying effects and adding music for the video. My supervisor for the project completed it by placing the text throughout it. The video stresses the importance of reading to your children so they are prepared to "read to learn" by third grade.

Running errands for various departments provided me with opportunity to take more photos of my favorite building.

March 7, 2017: It was a slow day in the communications office, but the legal office asked for my assistance in running errands. I made a trip to the Capitol, the Office of the Seal and walked through The Mall to deliver documents and get documents signed. I loved this opportunity to get out of the office and to explore beyond the Capitol. I met new people, learned about their positions and how they work to make Michiganders satisfied and Michigan a better place.

My walk to the Capitol to the morning (left) and a photo of the Capitol before I attended a House Committee meeting (right).

March 9, 2017: This is another favorite day of my internship because it proved to be a day where I learned the most. I attended a House Appropriations Subcommittee meeting on Higher Education. Sitting with members of the press, we watched as representatives from Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, Northern Michigan University, University of Michigan Flint and Grand Valley State University presented their platforms for more state funding. I took diligent notes and here are some of the things I learned about each university: Oakland does not charge fees with its tuition, 25% of first year students at EMU are first generation students, Northern has the second more affordable tuition and fees in Michigan, U of M Flint has a top ranking online nursing program, GVSU enrolls the second most Michigan residents. President James Smith of my alma mater made me incredibly proud to be a student at EMU and I took a leap of faith and I introduced myself. It was one of the best decisions I could have made because it gave me the chance to network with EMU's head of Government Affairs. I learned a lesson that day: never be afraid to introduce yourself to someone. Go against your shyness and social anxiety because you never know what could result from it.

March 14, 2017: Snow found its way back to Lansing and the Capitol.

Michigan Fact #2:

Did you know the large animals on the Michigan flag aren't deer, but are actually a moose and an elk? Most people assume they are deer because of their large presence in the state. And do you know what the word "TUEBOR" on the Michigan flag means? Well, if you read my blog post on Michigan's 180th birthday you would know that it translates to "to defend."

March 16, 2017: even the moon can't keep its distance from the Capitol.

Michigan Fact #3:

Did you know that Michigan's Capitol wasn't always in Lansing? Its original location used to be Detroit but was relocated so there would be an easier defense against the British troops stationed in Windsor, Ontario.

The sunrise begins to light up the Capitol.

March 21, 2017: This was the day I finally mastered the writing style of the communications office. My first blog post that wasn't heavily revised was published on Michigan's tourism industry. This was an extremely proud moment for me and I treated the blog post as my baby; it was my pride and joy. To read my blog post, click the button below:

The Capitol is illuminated by the morning sun.

March 23, 2017: I assisted the communications office by preparing for the afternoon's press conference on Michigan's efforts again the opioid epidemic. I checked in media and escorted them to the press conference room, created "reserved" signs for certain seats and I operated the live stream camera. My job was to zoom the camera lens in and out as people made remarks and made their way to the stage. While this seems like a simple task, I couldn't help but feel nervous because I didn't want to mess up and make those at home watching upset. Listening to remarks from the Governor, LG and those who lost a loved one to overdose was touching and it brought to light a problem I wasn't aware of.

March 28, 2017: I took a photo from inside to avoid Michigan's ever-changing weather.

Michigan Fact #4:

There have only been two U.S. Presidents to visit the Michigan Capitol: Teddy Roosevelt and Bill Clinton.

From left to right: another shot of the Capitol as I walked to my internship, the interior design of the dome, a perspective of the Capitol from the top, my view of the House from my seat, the view from my seat in the DEQ meeting.

March 30, 2017: I attended a Senate Committee meeting for the Department of Environmental Quality budget. The meeting lasted five minutes because they had already had a mark-up session on the bill. It was passed and began its next stages throughout the legislative process. Since the meeting ended quicker than I expected, I decided to roam the halls to see if there were other meetings I could observe. I was lucky enough to come across the House of Representatives being packed as they were having session. I sat with another intern who was observing and we took notes as bills were voted on and representatives mingled. Here is a trivia question for Michiganders reading this: do you know how many districts there are in Michigan?

April 6, 2017: Snow returns to the Lansing area and quickly coats the Capitol.

Michigan Facts #5, #6, #7:

Michigan's youngest Governor was 24, there are 50 portraits in the Capitol, Michigan sent 90,000 troops to the Civil War when our population at the time was 750,000.

Detroit vs Everybody.

April 11, 2017: One day of my internship experience was dedicated to shadowing another intern to understand what their internship responsibilities included. I chose to shadow the Detroit interns who work in the Governor's Office of Urban Initiatives. The picture I chose to represent this day doesn't represent it correctly because we didn't spend it in the city, but on the outskirts. The day consisted of a bus tour through Detroit neighborhoods and the Dearborn area. We began the day by attending a town hall meeting with Mayor Mike Duggan, Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, Minority Floor Leader Christine Grieg and Representative Sylvia Santana. Residents asked about pressing issues such as car insurance rates, demolition of abandoned buildings and preserving Detroit's green space. Here are some facts I learned: insurance rates are so high in Michigan because we adopted a "no-fault" policy and it costs $5000 to demolish an abandoned building. Next, we all boarded a bus and drove through Detroit neighborhoods and city streets and facts were given accordingly. Here are additional facts:

  • Businesses with a green light on top of them means they have partnered with the Detroit Police Department for 24 hour surveillance and security.
  • Mayor Duggan created the "cease fire initiative" where 30 to 40 gang members a month are brought in to meet with the Mayor and U.S. Attorney Barbra McQuade. Together, they describe what happens if they are involved in crime and what happens if they choose a different path. Since its creation many have gone back to school and acquired jobs. Detroit is no longer the most violent city and crime is being reduced by 5-6% a year.

We eventually made our way to Dearborn where we had lunch at Byblos and heard remarks from Mayor John B. O'Reilly Jr. and a presentation from Ford land management and their investments in Dearborn. More specifically, Ford announced they plan to invest $1 billion in Dearborn over the next 10 years. After lunch we drove through Dearborn and Representative Abdullah Hammoud gave facts about the demographics of the city, its schools and history. Our last stop was at the Islamic Center of America, one of the largest Mosque's in the nation. As we entered, women were required to take a scarf and wrap it around their heads and we all had to take off our shoes to enter the room where services were held. The group then participated in a discussion about the religion of Islam and questions about misconceptions about the religion were answered. So, in conclusion, this was the biggest learning day of my internship and I learned so much about my state that I wasn't aware of before. If anything, I learned that the pride people have for Detroit is inspirational and that we should never give up on the city.

April 13, 2017: It may have been a dismal looking day, but you can't have a bad day when you're at the Capitol.

Michigan Fact #8

It is exactly 160 feet from the floor of the Capitol to the top of the dome.

With lush green grass and clear skies, it looks like Spring has arrived in Lansing.

April 18, 2017: My second to last day in the communications office consisted of writing one last blog post. This topic of this blog post was about FLOM Sue Snyder and her "Let's Stop Campus Sexual Assault" initiative. It was just recently announced that the initiative's third summit will be held at Eastern Michigan University. This makes me incredibly proud of our state and my school for coming together to discuss an important issue facing college campuses.

From left to right: even the sky was crying because it was my last day at my internship, cupcakes I made for my last day (no, it was not a bribe to hire me) and the Winter 2017 interns with the Governor and LG after our lunch together.

April 20, 2017: My final day was filled with the most excitement and anxiety because I had lunch with the Governor and LG. I prepared questions I wanted to ask and mentally prepared myself to ask them. I have such a respect for both these men and the thought of being in the same room with and holding a conversation with them made me anxious. I was able to ask for advice about my future endeavors and even got to learn about them on a personal level. I learned the importance of finding a mentor, what it takes to be a good leader and the biggest difference between state and federal government. On the same day the interns got a tour of the Capitol and we learned more about the historic building such as: the chandeliers weigh 400 pounds, the floors are white marble and black limestone and the eight paintings of muses on the Capitol dome represent something the state was proud of such as manufacturing and architecture. These two events were the perfect ending to my internship because I spent it in my favorite building and spent time with two men who I greatly admired.

April 22, 2017: I graduated college!

What I Learned as an Intern

All throughout high school and college, I thought I knew what I wanted to do for a living. I thought I wanted to go into broadcast television and be a news anchor, climb the ladder up and eventually co-host the "TODAY Show" with Matt Lauer. Without this internship I wouldn't have discovered that my passion lies in state government. Through my observations, writings and connections I found a new love, pride and appreciation for my state. It is incredible to be on the other side, as opposed to a citizen, and to get a better perspective of what our administration is accomplishing. It is one thing to hear that our state officials are accomplishing tasks and another to actually witness that the work is getting done because you are a part of it. So what is next for me? I want to find a job in any facet of Michigan's government, whether it be in the House of Representatives, being an assistant to a state legislator or working in one of Michigan's various departments. Thank you for following me through this journey and I will leave you with this: "There is a gentleness in Michigan that you just can't replicate"- Jennifer Granholm.

Created By
Quinn Alexander
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Credits:

Created with images by Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "Michigan Grunge Flag" • jowest - "renaissance center general motors detroit"

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