Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Texans for Greg Abbott

Spring 2018

Position: Intern
Student: Government Sophomore 

Internships are exciting avenues to explore during college, and important ones as well. From Cockrell Engineering to the College of Liberal Arts, internships maintain importance as opportunities to gain work experience before entering the real-world. Simply, internships function to bolster one’s resume before entering the harsh realities of the economic climate in the U.S., and an internship acts to symbolize work experience when one has not had the opportunity to gain such experience due to strenuous school schedules. Often, they are legitimate pre-requisites to taking on full-time professions, such as in the medical field or engineering; and these students receive respectable wages for just being interns. In my case, as a government major, internships are typically unpaid in currency, but maintain the symbolic work experience previously stated and end in worthwhile letters of recommendation. I work for Texans for Greg Abbott, Governor Greg Abbott’s campaign, at his campaign headquarters in Austin, and what the internship lacks in pay, it makes up for in professional development, networking, and resume-building.

First, I will discuss the logistical aspects of the internship. Campaign headquarters for Texans for Greg Abbott is located in downtown Austin in the leasing office building of the Texas Association of Broadcasters. The campaign mostly operates on the 3rd and 4th floor of the office. Although this sounds like an unprofessional location for a campaign to be housed since it is a shared building, this campaign is actually quite high-end considering Governor Abbott’s campaign funding exceeds $40 million (the most of any gubernatorial candidate in history). Regarding my schedule, I work from 10-12pm on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, and 11:30-3pm on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. My supervisor was extremely flexible with me on determining my work hours for the week at the beginning of the semester. I have no doubt that had I needed to contort my schedule to fit my needs, he would have allowed me to do so without being annoyed by a lack of consistency.

In a typical day, my tasks are numerous, but I will discuss those most common, such as phone banking, opposition research, and to be expected, clerical work typical of interns in the Liberal Arts sector. First, phone banking is usually as boring as it sounds, but call lists that yield high levels of answers are more interesting and are quite common. While this objective sounds like no legitimate skills can be built through experience, it actually results in an enhanced ability to communicate effectively information that must be presented in a short amount of time. Considering much of one’s interactions are based on first impressions, especially in the professional path, this skill is one that must be honed; and phone calls are a way to do that. Opposition research is one of the more interesting aspects of the internship, as I am responsible for finding social media platforms where major candidates for statewide elections post their events. This is extensive work, as the most well-funded candidates will have hundreds of events in less than a year. Clerical work can occasionally take a bulk of the day depending on how busy the office is. Some of this work is actually time-consuming and can yield real skills, such as an astute attention to detail. For example, I often find myself working on scheduling for campaign events and surprisingly, these event listings often have potentially disastrous errors made by full-time employees that I must fix. Developing this attention to detail has made me the favorite intern and extremely efficient with clerical tasks.

While these tasks make up the bulk of my experience with Texans for Greg Abbott, this is not the only internship route to take with this campaign. I took part in block-walking at times, which is the best way to develop communicative capabilities since it is face-to-face, rapid voter contact. Speaking with your supervisor and explaining to him your interests will result in different internship routes. For example, working in the social media branch of the campaign and marketing, or even with the Republican Leadership Institute, which emphasizes block-walking, and eventually leads to a job on the campaign.

Fall 2013 

Position: Communications Intern
Student: Government, Junior

“Typical” isn’t even a good word to describe what goes on in a political campaign. “Typical” wouldn’t be fair, given that so many things can happen on a moment’s notice and everything tends to change on a day‐to‐day basis. Even though I firmly believe this to be true, there are still some things that have to happen every day in order for a campaign to function properly. Typically every morning, once I wake up, I review news stories of the day that could potentially help the campaign in some capacity. If I come across a news story that I find particularly interesting, I will add it to a running list. After I browse the Internet for a little while reading the news, I usually pass this list along to someone in my department so that they can read them too, if there is anything at all. Usually they have already seen these stories, or even knew about them before publishing, so the task is pretty light. While in the office, I continue to monitor various news outlets, just in case I come across a breaking news story that the staff may be interested in knowing about.

Press releases, emails and media advisories are just a few things that always need to be written and are constantly being released, so there is never a shortage of writing to do. I usually help the communications staff in writing and reworking these items before they are declared good to send out and I have found that the more pairs of eyes on the assignment, the better it will turn out.

Aside from these constant tasks, I always make myself available to run errands, take orders out for shipping, and answering phones and helping constituents is always a priority task. So far, no two days have been the same.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508