Staff photo by Dean H. Borgwardt
Rachel Manley, of Cottonwood, will be packing her bags and catching a flight to or nation's capital where she will be work as a congressional intern for U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi (R-District 1) in Washington, D.C. Manley is a junior at Northern Arizona University majoring in criminal justice and is looking forward to her adventure.
But come September, Manley will go from hustling orders out to hungry customers to attending congressional hearings as an intern for U.S. Congressman Rick Renzi (R-District 1) in Washington, D.C.
"This is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Manley said. "This will really help me get into law school."
On Sept. 2, Manley will board a plane bound for Washington, D.C. to begin her semester-long internship at our nation's capital.
Manley is no stranger to hard work, and she is up to the hearings, administrative work and hustling with Renzi's staff from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"The internship is unpaid, but the advantages are invaluable," she said. "It's from September to Dec. 15."
The internship is required in her degree program.
"I'm ready for the long hours and to learn about the workings of Congress … to learn how government systems operate," she said.
Manley believes she was chosen because of her community service work. She is a Victim's Witness Program in Flagstaff and has worked with probationary teens.
After graduation, she plans to pursue advocacy law or perhaps politics.
Manley saw an announcement for internships with Renzi and submitted a resume, writing sample and cover letter.
"It only took a week to get a response, and I was accepted," she commented. "I'm really excited, not only for the internship, but because there is so much history in Washington."
After hours, some of the sites Manley will see are the White House, U.S. Capitol, Smithsonian Institute, Mount Vernon, Library of Congress and the National Archives.
Manley feels strongly about democracy, its empowerment of the people to choose their leaders and to change laws. She said she is disappointed when people deny their civic duty to vote.
"It's frustrating when I hear people don't vote," she said. "People have a voice in this governmental system, then they are upset about the way things happen. But they didn't vote."
Rachel's twin sister, Rebekah, 20, said she is excited and inspired by her sister.
"Rachel has to cover her own expenses during the unpaid internship. Any donations from the community would be appreciated."
"A lot of people at our church are donating," Rachel noted. "They have really been helpful." Rachel's father is also Derk Manley, the priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Clarkdale.
"When Rachel was in middle school, she made her first trip to Washington, D.C.," he said.
"Since that time, she has talked about attending law school at Georgetown and living in close proximity to the Smithsonian," he said. "She has been fascinated by politics and law since she was a young girl."
Internships of this sort are ideal for students interested in public service as they can learn about the operations of a congressional office. Some of the tasks of congressional interns include answering phones, sorting mail and greeting visitors. Other duties may include conducting research, attending meetings and hearings and assisting with constituent correspondence.
Plus, it looks great on a resume.
Rachel's mom, Cindy, said Rachel has many wonderful gifts and talents.
"She has worked very hard to get to where she is now," she said. "I'm proud of her, and excited that she gets to follow her dream."
If you are interested in assisting Rachel with her internship, contact St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 634 8593.
Renzi serves one of the largest congressional districts in the country, slightly larger than the state of Illinois and home to some 640,000 Arizonans. Renzi said that the distance from Arizona to Washington is great, but it is important for citizens of the First Congressional District to see the great halls of or nation's government with their own eyes. Our nation's capitol presents a unique environment to learn about the history of our country and those who built it.
"I'm a little nervous," she admitted. "But I'm more excited."