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. As summer comes to a close and fall looms ahead, 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!
Katie Mastel is a senior studying marketing and political science at North Dakota State University in Fargo ND. She got her start in politics freshman year of college in 2016 when she was appointed as the Executive Commissioner of External Affairs for NDSU Student Government, the governmental and community relations branch of the organization. She then interned at the North Dakota Republican Party in 2016 before taking on the role as Legislative Director for the west side of ND. During the summer of 2017 she interned for ND Senator John Hoeven in his state office. Katie finished her student government career at NDSU serving as the Student Body Vice President. She is currently the Public Policy Coordinator at the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce Currently where she has been since January of 2018. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in public policy out in Washington D.C. before moving back to North Dakota.
How did you find out about the position, and why did you decide to apply?
After getting involved in my university’s student government freshman year of college I decided to purse my passion for leadership and politics. I hadn’t previously taken an interest in politics so I only had a year of exposure to public policy during my freshman year experience in student government. I decided to reach out to the North Dakota Republican Party in the spring to see if there was an opportunity to intern in some capacity over the summer in order to deepen my understanding of state politics and the republican party specifically. After connecting with the Executive Director, I was hired as a summer intern. There was no specific job description or formal position, however with it being a big election year, they knew they could use some help. I had no idea what I would be doing for the party much less the incredible opportunities this internship would lead to.
What was the driving force behind choosing to work at as an intern for the Republican Party of North Dakota?
Through my involvement in student government freshman year of college, I became aware of many issues that I wanted to help resolve. I found that almost every challenge I cam upon required some level of change in policy as a solution. I quickly saw the impact that policy can have on a university, local, state and national level. It was through this realization that I found my passion for public policy and politics. After this experience I wanted to further understand public policy and state politics, thus I explored the North Dakota Republican Party opportunities.
Have you interned before? If so, where?
Before this experience I hadn’t specifically interned at an organization, however, I had been appointed the Executive Commissioner of External Affairs which is the governmental and community relations branch of student government. In this capacity I served as the student lobbyist for the students of my university. Since the North Dakota Republican Party internship opportunity, I have been fortunate to intern at many outstanding places such as for North Dakota’s Senator and at the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.
Describe a typical day at the internship.
I really appreciated that my internship experience was unique in that no two day’s tasks were exactly the same. I had routine duties such as checking in with local candidates and updating the party leadership, however, each day came with a new challenge to solve. There were times I was working directly with candidates to strategize their campaign, other days I oversaw the ND Republican Party booth at the State Fair, and still others I analyzed data regarding ND voters. Most typically I worked with the Executive Director of the party as she would assign me tasks and I would update her on campaign progress.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for the state party?
The most rewarding aspect of working for the North Dakota Republican party was the connections it provided me with and the opportunities it gave me. Interning at the party allowed me to meet several passionate public officials as well as dedicated staff who have been vital to my political involvement since then. Some of these people helped shape my character and others helped point me towards other internships and experiences that lead me to where I am at today and where I am headed in years to come.
What was the biggest WOW moment of your internship?
The biggest wow moment of working for the party was watching election night unfold. Though my internship was only planned for the summer, I ended up continuing to work for the ND Republican Party as the Legislative Director for the west side of the state through the 2016 November election. This allowed me the ability to engage in the campaigns all the way through the end. Election night was particularly rewarding as all of the western legislative races that I coordinated with on behalf of the party were successful. Seeing all of the behind the scenes work that went into each of these elections from the candidates to the party leaders really brought a new perspective to elections for me.