Image Credits: All images courtesy of Christinia Dunn

How She Got That Internship is a series that highlights conservative women’s internships in various organizations and positions to inspire the next generation of conservative women to lead. Did you, or a young woman that you know, have an internship experience you want to share with our readers? Submit it in this form and we will contact you if we think it would be a great fit for the series. 

Summer is perhaps the best time for young leaders to invest in themselves by gaining valuable work experience, namely through internships. FFL is sitting down with a number interns to reflect on this year’s highlights and encourage more young leaders to apply for next year’s internships.

Christinia Dunn is 22 years old and currently attends law school in Florida, but she is originally from South Carolina. She is a southern girl at heart; she love her country music, all things Lilly Pulitzer and of course huntin’ and muddin’. Christinia attended Columbia College (an all-women’s college) in Columbia, South Carolina, for her undergraduate career, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Communication Studies. During her time in undergrad, her love for politics grew into a passion that has driven her career choices. During her undergraduate career, Christinia was the President of Columbia College Republicans, President of the Pre-Law Society and the President of her class from her sophomore year to her senior year, among other things. It was through these different positions and her experiences in undergrad that she decided on a career in Constitutional Law. She loves and respects the United States’ Constitution and all that this living document represents, and wants to devote her career to it. At her current law school, Christinia is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. After graduating law school, her dream is to move to Washington, DC and pursue a career in both Constitutional Law and politics, of course. It’s time that Washington get some southern flair to it!

How did you find out about the position, and why did you decide to apply?

Funny enough, my dad and I were at a hibachi restaurant (my fave!) and there was a newspaper article about Senator Tim Scott and it had a link to his website where it mentioned internship opportunities. I applied for it my junior year. Unfortunately, I did not get accepted. I reapplied my senior year of college where I was accepted and became the first student from Columbia College to intern for his office. I decided to apply to his office because Senator Tim Scott is the first black Republican to be sworn into the Senate and I knew that he would be a great leader to learn about politics but more importantly how to honor your morals while navigating a field that is cutthroat. It was a great honor to intern for his office.

What was the driving force behind choosing to work at as an intern for Senator Tim Scott?

I have always known that politics is something that I want to be involved in. My dream is to actually be a Senator and who better to learn from than one of the most respected Senators, who happens to be Republican and from South Carolina! I knew that working in his Columbia office, instead of his main one in Washington, would provide me with the opportunity to learn the behind the scenes work. Honestly in Washington everything is so fast paced that one can lose sight of the people who really are the backbone of the organization. By interning in Senator Scott’s Columbia office, I saw and experienced first-hand every aspect that is involved to help make Senator Scott the man that we in South Carolina respect so much.

Had you interned before? If so, where?

Interning with Senator Scott was my first internship.

Describe a typical day at your internship. 

To earn the credits for my internship I had to intern around 20-30 hours per week, so if I wasn’t in class I was at my internship. I would go into the office a little before lunchtime. When I entered into the office, the first thing I would do is say hello to everyone in the office, staff and interns included. Then I would have a quick, little gossip session with some of my bosses and the interns, gotta stay up to date on everyone’s lives! I would ask my internship coordinator what my duties were for the day and these ranged from sitting and answering the phones to picking up the mail, making phone calls, it honestly depended on the day and if any of the staff needed help with a project. My second semester I became the one of the Intern Coordinators for Senator Scott’s letter program, where I would help my boss proofread letters, print them out and mail them. I also helped conduct interviews for the Military Academy nomination process, making sure that the interviewees schedules were on schedule, filing paperwork and making sure the kids weren’t too nervous. When the day was done at 5:30 I would clock out, say goodbye and go home.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for Senator Tim Scott?

Honestly the connections that I have made with my bosses. The staff consisted of mostly women and it was inspiring and insightful to be able to work with women who were involved in the political field. Not only did I gain valuable advice, but it inspired me to know that there were these amazing women helping people all throughout South Carolina while engaging in their passion for politics.

What was the biggest WOW moment of your internship?

Meeting the Senator, of course! I was literally shaking when I met Senator Scott! All I wanted from my internship was to meet the Senator and I was getting worried that I wouldn’t get the chance but meeting him was a true honor and WOW moment! Coming in at a close second was attending the South Carolina Republican Party Gala. It was definitely a grand ole time with the grand ole party!

Looking back over your time in the internship, what’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a result of your time working for your Senator Tim Scott?

I’ve learned so many lessons working in the office but probably the most important, valuable lesson was to take your seat at the front of the table. Sometimes I feel that as women we just want a seat at the table, but we should take the seat at the front of the table. This was both a metaphorical and physical lesson. When the office would host guests or travel to guests, I would always make sure that I took a seat at the front of the table, and this small action impressed people. Taking the seat at the front not only showed confidence but it made me feel confident and realized that taking the seat at the front, you take action. My time at my internship definitely helped me gain and new confidence to take stronger action for what I believed in. Remember ladies, always take your seat in the front!

Would you apply to work for Senator Time Scott again, and what advice would you give to future applicants?

I would absolutely work in the Senator’s office again! It was the best experience of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My advice for future applicants is even if you are not accepted the first time, apply again. I did not get accepted my first time applying but when I applied the second time on my file it stated “overqualified”. It’s amazing how at first I was not accepted and then the next I was an overqualified candidate. So if you apply and do not get accepted, understand that it is not a reflection on you but realize that maybe at that moment you are not ready for that position. I am so glad that I was accepted when I was because it made my experience even greater. If you are not accepted, you can email the coordinator and ask where you can improve. It could be you need more experience or are too young, but by emailing it will show that you are serious about the position and have the determination to obtain it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Whatever your passion is pursue it with all your heart. But know that the journey will be hard, not everything is easy, the best things in life don’t come easy. Take every opportunity that you can but more importantly MAKE those opportunities, don’t just wait for them to come around. We live in a country where anyone can be or do anything, take full advantage of that! You have grit, you just gotta use it!

How She Got That Internship is a series that highlights conservative women’s internships in various organizations and positions to inspire the next generation of conservative women to lead. Did you, or a young woman that you know, have an internship experience you want to share with our readers? Submit it in this form and we will contact you if we think it would be a great fit for the series. 

Isabel B
Isabel is a Cabinet Member from the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado and is a proud CSU Ram. Next fall, Isabel will be attending Georgetown University to pursue her master's degree. She dreams of one day serving as the US President. She loves all things small government and second amendment, and is also a Turning Point USA Campus Coordinator and a proud member of PragerFORCE.