WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catherine Quinlan has been fielding calls from U.S. Rep. Tom Reed’s constituents all summer long. For the Corning, N.Y. native and psychology major, combining people and, now, politics, has been a new learning experience.

“Politics is something I’ve always been interested in, so to have the opportunity to do this internship has been really great,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan is one of several interns in Reed’s Washington D.C. office this summer.

Nearby, Western New York native Raegan Lehman is assisting staffers by gathering press clips and recapping bills introduced in Congress.

“I’ve grown up knowing who Congressman Tom Reed is, so I just wanted to serve the district in any way that I could,” said Lehman, who hails from Allegany County.

Sara Franch is also serving New York’s 23rdCongressional District this summer. But for the recent University of Buffalo graduate, the internship isn’t just about gaining experience. It’s also about getting a foot in the door, to find a job in Washington.

“As the summer has gone on, I’ve become increasingly interested in politics,” Franch said. “So, I’m definitely open to that opportunity.”

These interns are doing more than just getting coffee or freshening up the office. They attend hearings and briefings. To the interns, there is also one added benefit to interning on the House side compared to the Senate: more one-on-one interactions with the boss himself.

“Whenever he’s in the office, he comes in and he’s always cracking jokes or just making it a very fun environment,” Franch said of Reed. “That was an extra bonus to working here.” 

While some of interns aren’t sure if they want to continue working in politics after graduation, either way the internship itself has proven to be a great learning experience.”

“Working with constituents has been a really interesting experience, so I can definitely apply that to (my education),” Quinlan said.

“As far as what I want to yet, I still don’t know,” said Lehman, who will start her sophomore year at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. this fall. “But it’s definitely been good to see it all.”