Mannal Haddad was an Undergraduate Public Service Scholar in 2017 when she interned for the Office of Representative Salud Carbajal at the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Where are you from?
Redondo Beach, CA

Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication at the University of California Santa Barbara. I was also a member of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. 

What was the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship was probably the support of the people in the office. I was empowered to take initiative and reach out to different members of the staff for projects and to make connections. The respect they gave me helped me to treat the internship like a job and feel more confident in my place in the office. 

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
I think it’s important to have an open mind about the purpose of your internship and, more broadly, what path you want your career to take. When I entered my internship, I thought for sure all I wanted to do was legislative research and policy writing. As it turned out, I’m much more interested in political communication. Being open to that kind of realization, and being confident enough in yourself to act on those reflections, is so important.

What are you doing now?
I actually was able to turn my internship into a job! I now work as a press assistant in the Office of Representative Salud Carbajal, where I worked as a legislative intern last summer. I work on social media presence, press releases, and scheduling interviews for Rep. Carbajal, among other tasks on the Hill.  

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope I’m working for a Democratic White House on the Communications team. While I love what I’m doing on the Hill now, I think it’d be really exciting and energizing to work in another branch of the federal government. 

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
Currently, I’m reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and loving it. But if I was to recommend a book, especially to current public service scholars, it would be Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco. It’s a great look into the everyday life of a White House staffer and has the unique perspective of a younger woman in that competitive, high-stakes environment. I laughed reading that book almost as often as I was inspired.

Tell us a fun fact!
I once met both Conan O’Brien and Adam Sandler in the same afternoon at the same small ice cream shop in my college’s small town.

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