USA: Tayler Palkowski ’20

Student standing in front of office with flags next to it. She is wearing a suit jacket and holding fingers in a W
Tayler outside Senator Baldwin’s office on her last day

Program: Wisconsin in Washington, DC Internship Program, Spring

Class of 2020: Political Science Major, Certificates in Education Policy, Public Policy, and Gender & Women’s Studies

What is your most memorable experience from your program? 

Being in the middle of everything. Living on the Hill, interning on the Hill. Our access to people and places that are so relevant to our field of study was unforgettable.

What did you learn about yourself or the world because of your experience?

I learned more about what I wanted to do when I graduated, the work environment I work best in, and how to advocate for myself in the workplace.

How did your identities impact your experience?

As a woman and first generation college student, it can be hard to even find doors to open. This program opened up doors I didn’t even know were there. My experience was really about finding my way to a career post-graduation and learning to say “yes” to everything helped me broaden my horizons.

What challenges or barriers did you face as you prepared to go abroad and/or during your time abroad?

I think the financial aspect was most challenging for me. I had to work a paid job nearly full time to afford my time in DC. The travel aspect of moving across the country was also something that was hard. I talked with alumni of the program but they had more money or family support to move. I had to really research the easiest way to get me and my stuff from Wisconsin to DC.

Describe your internship and how the experience helped advance your career or studies.

I interned for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin as a legislative intern. I worked with the environment team and helped with attending briefings, writing constituent letters, and doing other office tasks. This also helped me learn the difference between state and federal issues. I got to see first hand the work that legislative offices put in and it helped me gain the skills I needed to execute that at the state level in my current role.

How did your experience influence your personal, academic and professional trajectory?

My experience showed me that while maybe federal level work wasn’t for me, maybe state level work was. I am not the Constituent Services Director for State Senator Kelda Roys (Madison) and I love the work I do. My internship prepared me for my current role and gave me insight on the type of supervisor I want to be for the interns I manage.

As a woman and first generation college student, it can be hard to even find doors to open. This program opened up doors I didn’t even know were there. My experience was really about finding my way to a career post-graduation and learning to say “yes” to everything helped me broaden my horizons.