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Nathan Timbs, Baker Ambassador, interns for Senator Corker.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a junior studying political science with a concentration in international affairs. I am also a religious studies major with a minor in Arabic studies. I have always had an interest in international politics; disputes; and government types, with a focus in the Middle Eastern region.
I was fortunate to serve as an intern in Senator Bob Corker’s Knoxville office over the summer. His position as Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee only increased my interest in international politics. My dream career is to work for the U.S. State Department in Washington, DC, or abroad in an embassy. This career choice is fueled by my love of international relations but also by a strong desire to impact the world in a beneficial way.
What was your first day like? Your last day?
I did not know what to expect on my first day, but I was given a packet of Senator Corker’s statements and stances on hot button issues currently being debated including health care, Syria, and Cuba. I was then trained on how to answer constituents’ questions, which could be categorized under one of two groupings: comments and casework.
“Once I began answering calls, I felt like I was finally a part of government and making a difference. Being able to finally make an impact felt amazing, and I could not wait to help people on a daily basis.”
My last day was a fitting end to my time as an intern for Senator Corker. The night before I stayed up to watch the final health care reform vote on CSPAN. It failed 49-51, and with that vote, the weeks of comments and concerns from constituents concluded in an end result. I was able to fully witness government work right in front of me as local feedback and debates on Capitol Hill culminated into a vote that will impact the nation for years to come.
I was saddened to know that I was having to leave behind unfinished casework, as I could np longer help constituents with their needs. Overall, this internship strengthened my appreciation for government because I was able to see it work efficiently and effectively from a perspective I had never before witnessed.
What was the most important thing you learned during your internship?
I learned two very important things during my internship. The first was to be calm and professional in every situation. Answering phone calls from angry constituents sometimes tested my patience, since not everyone follows the golden rule of “treat others as you would wish to be treated,” but I always reminded myself that I was first and foremost a representative of Senator Corker.
Secondly, I learned the importance of making a good impression on those around me whether it be a coworker, a boss, or a constituent. Presentation of self was critical in my position, and I realized that this internship would have consequences for my future.
“I learned that working hard, going above what I was being asked, and trying to always be professional would serve me well in the future.”
What was the most surprising moment?
The most surprising moment, and also a very exciting moment, was when I saw all of our work on our “Joint Operation” veterans event come to fruition. The weeks of work that I had done assisting the planning and execution of this event resulted in a resounding success in which over 500 veterans were able to receive assistance for various needs and issues.
Since I had never helped plan an event of this scale, I was amazed at how well our office had executed this event. Seeing the work that I did directly impact constituents made all of the effort more than worth it.
“I was surprised that government could work so effectively to meet specific needs, rather than the disaster that is presented by the media on a daily basis. Being on the inside of government will make anyone truly appreciate the meaningful work being done.”
How did the experience impact your future plans?
My experience reinforced my love for government and public policy, but I did not expect the largest benefit I received. Through my internship I came to the realization that I have an intense passion for helping others and that I want to do that on an international scale. This experience also inspired me to apply for an internship next summer with Senator Corker and the Foreign Relations Committee. Without the knowledge gained from this internship and connections I have made, this process would have been much harder, if not impossible.
What will you always remember?
During my internship, I was fortunate enough to serve as the representative for Senator Corker at a naturalization ceremony. For those who do not know, a naturalization ceremony is the legal proceeding individuals go through to officially become U.S. citizens. The moment 30 individuals from 20 nationalities became U.S. citizens is one I will never forget, as they all had expressions of happiness and achievement.
“This made me realize how important government is and how great it can be.”