An opportunity to work on Capitol Hill would be a dream for many students, but for Madison Pergrem, that dream became a reality. The Eastern Kentucky University junior spent the summer interning with Sixth District Congressman Andy Barr and U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Pergrem spent the first six weeks of her internship working in the press office of the latter. While there, she was able to attend press conferences, lead tours of the capitol, and assist in constituent services.
Additionally, Pergrem and her fellow interns attended a meeting with McConnell, during which he discussed his experiences as a long-time senator, detailed the workings of the legislative process, and offered political advice and knowledge that the interns could reference throughout their careers.
The remaining time was split between the Senate and House of Representatives, where Pergrem had the opportunity to experience both sides of legislation. This included completing policy research and attending weekly Senate “stakeouts,” in which major news outlets would interview the senators.
“I had the opportunity to learn, hands-on, about the legislative process and what an important role that communications play in politics,” Pergrem said.
The Richmond native is currently double-majoring in general business and broadcasting, with plans to graduate in December 2018. She hopes to pursue a career in political communication, a profession for which she feels well prepared after this summer.
“The amazing people that I was able to meet and work with along the way will also greatly impact my future,” said Pergrem. “I learned from some of the best staffers in D.C., and I know that I can take the knowledge I learned from them and use it for my future career.”
Pergrem also credits her successes to the many EKU professors and organizations that have shaped her into the person she is today. “During the duration of my internship in D.C.,” she explained, “I was able to take the knowledge and skills I have gained inside and outside of the classroom at EKU, and put them to use in a work place environment.
“EKU has provided various settings that have given me the chance to grow in many different ways,” she continued. “Whether it be working in the community, working together on a Greek project, or studying in the classroom, EKU has provided me with all the skills I need to succeed in the real world.”
Pergrem’s love for the Maroon Nation may have started with her mother, April Ramsey Pergrem, who served as the University’s 1994-95 Student Regent and returned to serve as a member on the Board of Regents in 2008.
As Pergrem settles into the routine of classes, homework, and sorority activities, she will always remember her summer experiences as “the best three months of my life.
“I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, create amazing experiences, and learn so much about our great country. It will definitely have the greatest impact on my life going forward.”
-- by Yasmin White, Student Writer, EKU Communications & Brand Management