Interns learn leadership skills at capitol

N-Hinckley-Interns-at-Captiol Colby Patterson
Interns from the Hinckley Institute of Politics pose at the Utah State Capitol. Photo courtesy of The Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Interns from the Hinckley Institute of Politics pose at the
Utah State Capitol. Photo courtesy of The Hinckley Institute of Politics.

For nearly five decades, the Hinckley Institute of Politics has been sending students to intern for Utah’s State Capitol.

The rigorous, full-time internship is one of the largest internships in the country and has been around since the late 1960s. Students take the 12-credit internship in place of classes and receive a $2,400 scholarship from the legislature.

According to Morgan Lyon Cotti, the institute’s state and program manager, Utah’s legislature does not have a staff, which is why the Hinckley Institute provided Utah’s State Capitol with 25 students to intern along with 65 other interns from schools such as BYU, Weber and UVU.

Students are sent to learn exactly how a bill becomes a law as well as leadership and professional skills.

Patricio Panuncio, a sophomore in political science and sociology, is interning for State Sen. Luz Robles (D-Salt Lake), who is running for Congress.

He said the internship is “stressful, but worth it.”

Stephen LeFevre, a senior in economics, is interning for State Sen. J. Stuart Adams (R-Davis). He decided to apply for the internship because he saw an opportunity for self-improvement to obtain applicable professional skills for future jobs.

“Politics has long been fascinating to me, and the Hinckley Institute of Politics played the right tune to get me involved in their programs,” LeFevre said.

Sylvie Batchelor, a junior in political science and international studies, works for State Sen. Patricia Jones (D-Salt Lake). She decided to take part in this internship because she sees herself running for office one day.

Batchelor has learned how to track bills and be organized, but his knowledge does not stop there.

“I have also learned that coffee is a much-needed friend,” Batchelor said.

Mitch Freckleton, a senior in political science, is interning for his second time.

In the Fall Semester, Freckleton interned for the Lt. Governor’s office. He is now interning for State Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield).

“I do not know politics nearly as well as I thought I did … this internship is really helping me better understand what goes on here during the legislative season,” Freckleton said.

He decided to take part in this internship in order to “connect with people in Utah’s political realm” and to see what a career in politics might look like. He encouraged any students interested in politics to come to floor meetings and committee meetings.

e.trepanier@chronicle.utah.edu