Viviana Gonzalez was a 2017 Undergraduate Public Service Scholar, who interned at the Office(s) of Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both of Illinois.
Where are you from?
I am from Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I studied Politics and Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University (NYU).
What was the best part of your internship?
What I appreciated most about my internship, and my current role, is that I never stopped learning. Every day on the Hill I had the opportunity to learn about the nuances of pressing policy issues. While I came to the Hill knowing I wanted to focus on immigration policy, I actually ended up gaining valuable experience in a wide range of policy areas.
What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
Treat every task you’re given as an opportunity to prove your professionalism and skill. If you do the “small things” like answer calls, sort mail or complete errands with care and diligence, then you will be trusted to take on more responsibilities. That being said, don’t be afraid to self-advocate and ask for more opportunities to learn!
What are you doing now?
I am a Staff Assistant in Senator Duckworth’s office. I am responsible for a wide range of administrative areas, as well as helping to oversee the interns and assisting with legislative projects.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
Although I’m not totally certain I know what I want to be doing in ten years, I know that I want to be working to strengthen immigrant rights and create humane immigration policy reform. I also know that someday I will go back to school. I’m way too much of a nerd to stay away from intensive learning for the rest of my life.
What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
Everyone should read Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins. It’s a collection of short stories published after Kathleen Collins died of breast cancer in 1988 at the age of 46. It is absolutely beautiful.
Tell us a fun fact!
I have an adorable kitten named Hudson that my roommate and I adopted right when I moved to DC. He’s a sweet kitty when he isn’t tearing about our entire home. People keep telling me that he’s going to calm down eventually but I don’t know.