During my semester long immersion into the Wilderness and Civilization program, I found myself encompassed by the wildness of the Bob Marshall, humbled by the kindness and knowledge of our many hosts and guest speakers, and enthralled by excursions with my adventurous peers. When it came time to choose an internship for the final component of the program, I was inspired by Laurie Yung’s Wildland Conservation Policy and Governance class.
Professor Yung introduced us to different environmental laws and policies in U.S., leading me to take Professor Nie’s Natural Resource Law and Policy Class as well as pursue an internship at Senator Tester’s Missoula Office. Tester is the Senate's only active farmer and a strong advocate for Montana’s outdoor heritage, authoring the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act and sponsoring the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act.
I have learned the ropes quickly during my first two weeks at Senator Tester’s office. The staff is friendly and intelligent, and my supervisor, Becky, has already taught me how to work with constituents and handle casework. As the semester progressed, I began working with Tester’s natural resources staffer for Montana. Natural resources casework can involve resolving issues that constituents have with land management agencies, working with agencies to solve local problems, and informing and educating people about Tester’s stances on conservation and natural resource issues in Montana and around the United States.
My first week on the job I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie Schriock. Schriock is Tester’s former Chief of staff; the current president of EMILY’s List, an organization dedicated to recruiting Democratic women to run for elected office; and a personal hero of mine. I was also able to sit in on meeting between the Missoula City Council and Senator Tester.
My position at Senator Tester’s office is giving me valuable insight into how congressional offices operate and the significant role our delegates can play in land management and policy. This summer, I will continue to work for Senator Tester as part of the Truman Summer Institute Program in Washington, D.C.