Mar 09, 2021 | Jennifer Clifton communication arts arts humanities and social sciences political science Amber Hinton is from Tuscaloosa, AL. Hinton is a Communication Arts Major with a Political Science and Management & Leadership minor. She will graduate in Spring 2022. Photo Credit Michael Mercier Navigating your first internship can be a huge learning opportunity; combine that with it being an election year during a global pandemic, you have more than a resume bullet. Amber Hinton, junior communication arts major, did just that as a campus organizer for Doug Jones and the Alabama Democratic Party. The internship’s goal was to spread as much knowledge about his platform to college students and their community. Interning for a political party is a unique opportunity for passionate future leaders to gain real-life, hands-on experience in politics. However, the impact of COVID-19 dramatically changed the typical day-to-day tasks to be driven virtually. Hinton spoke about the online tasks that she was given in her position, along with COVID’s impact. “We created video and graphics to inform students and the community on voting. We were heavily involved with sharing his social media posts and spreading his message. Leading into the months before the election, it was a lot of phone and text banking. We tried to capture information on who folks were voting for and ensure they knew his goals and mission. COVID-19 made it extremely hectic, and it did not allow me the opportunity to work directly in his physical office or travel.” In addition to assigned duties, Hinton was able to see grassroots organizing and effort by the senator’s team. It was also a fantastic opportunity to train and network with leaders within the state of Alabama. The opportunity to intern was based on a connection she was able to create within her role in the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion. “After UAH hosted the virtual Doug Jones town hall, his staff contacted ODEI to see if they would have any recommendations for their student internship positions. Karessa Acosta Lee, Coordinator for Inclusive Programs and Student Leadership, was able to recommend my name.” One of her biggest takeaways from the experience was how difficult political campaigns are to construct and what happens when they are over. “Campaigns are no joke. It is long, hard work. Most people don’t know how much research and effort goes on behind the scenes. Probably the biggest life lesson during the experience was never to give up. I got to see resilience in-action.” The purpose of internships is to connect coursework and theories studied within the classroom to the real-world setting. “It was actually perfect timing because I just had PSC 302 with Dr. Noelle Hunter, which allowed me to be part of a Congressional simulation. We got to act as Congress members, and I represented the state of Texas. It was cool to learn about campaigns and then see how they impact decision making, and then experience that in real-life.” Hinton was also able to put her background in communication, public relations, and public speaking into action daily. As Hinton continues her academic program, she hopes to continue to gain invaluable experiences, like internships, to build her resume for graduation. “I’ve always been interested in politics. I would be open to running for a local position or maybe government contracting, but I am not really set on one specific position just yet. I am still exploring.” The best advice she can give to other students hoping to complete an internship is “Connect with your professors because they have leads for these opportunities, and make sure to read your email for when these opportunities are shared. Do your research by going to the websites of those you might be interested in interning with in the future.” “My internship was one that I will always remember. I got an opportunity to hear Cory Booker, United States Senator for New Jersey, speak. He was extremely motivational, and it was nice to come together with others who might not look like you or they might be from a completely different background and see them come together for certain ideals.” We encourage students to contact their faculty advisor and utilize Career Services for career development and internship opportunities.