22 March 2018: Kate Hitchcock grew up watching television political drama The West Wing. She never thought she’d get to live it, but now she has – and she’s got the Congressional Record to prove it.
Ms Hitchcock has just returned home from a successful internship in the office of California Democratic Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
She was both surprised and elated during her final days in Washington D.C. to learn the congressman had gone on the official daily record to praise her contribution to his office.
Speaking in Congress, Congressman DeSaulnier described Ms Hitchcock as an “exceptional young woman” who had been a “valuable contributor” to his office’s efforts.
“Kate Hitchcock, a student from the University of Canberra, has quickly proved herself to be a highly valuable member of our team. Her hard work and dedication is an asset to our office…,” he said.
Ms Hitchcock, who is studying a double degree in politics and international relations and communication in media and public affairs, said of everything she had hoped to gain from the internship, having her name etched in U.S. history hadn’t crossed her radar.
“It was a total surprise,” she said. “I was lucky to get quite a bit of facetime with the Congressman. I think having that allowed me to leave a good impression.
“You plug in my name on Congress.gov and I come up in the Congressional Record. It’s cool knowing I’m part of U.S. history now.”
Ms Hitchcock traded the nation’s capital for Capitol Hill in January. She was one of 14 Australians to receive a place in the prestigious Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme.
During her eight weeks in Congressman DeSaulnier’s office, she was involved in everything from speaking to constituents on the phone to attending hearings centring on the government’s efforts to contain Islamic State in the Middle East.
“It was exciting being over there because I got to involve myself in things that I had only been learning about,” Ms Hitchcock said. “Instead of reading about it in the news, I was participating in it.”
Ms Hitchcock, who has completed work experience in the Canberra Press Gallery, said the internship gave her some clarity around which career path to pursue.
“I’ve always had a leaning toward working in a political office as opposed to reporting on politics from the outside and this opportunity has confirmed that,” she said.
After rubbing shoulders with America’s political elite, Ms Hitchcock is settling back into reality and putting her career ambitions to one side – at least for now.
“I’d do it again if I could. I’d go back tomorrow.”