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Ben Noble '08 Spends Summer as Intern on Capitol Hill

By Lisbeth Redfield
Posted August 16, 2007
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Ben Noble '08, a native of LaGrange Park, Ill., is preparing to move from one hill to another. A summer intern in the office of Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Noble spent his summer networking, absorbing political savvy, and getting the necessary experience for a potential D.C. employee.

Noble was one of more than 20 Hamiltonians who received college funding to participate in a summer internship. Work experience is becoming more and more necessary for college students but many opportunities are unpaid and require students to pay their own housing and living expenses as well as working for free.

Thanks to alumni and parent donations, Hamilton students can apply for funding to support them while they work in a field of interest with an organization that cannot pay them. Though Noble works in an unpaid internship, he received a stipend from Hamilton's Joseph F. Anderson Internship Fund, given in honor of a 1944 Hamilton graduate who served the college for 18 years as vice president for communications and development. The fund in his name provides individual stipends to support full-time internships for students wishing to expand their educational horizons in preparation for potential careers after graduation.

Noble served as an assistant in Roskam's office. He was responsible for sorting and answering the mail, giving tours, briefing Roskam, and writing memos. "Right now it's a really good time to be on the Hill," Noble said, explaining that he had recently attended a Republican briefing and gotten to hear the leadership strategies of the party. Although he was doing a fair amount of what he called "grunt work," Noble was excited to be in the capitol this summer. "This is a starting point for me," he explained.

This was Noble's second internship for a political party; he has previously worked on former New York State senator Ray Meier's 2006 election campaign. Working in Roskam's office was a different experience, Noble said. "It's the same groundwork with a different atmosphere." He is very pleased with what he has seen this summer. "It's a real learning experience," Noble reflected, "an experience of how Congress works, how the average American can affect Congress."

Internships are essential if you want to pursue a career in Washington, Noble emphasized. Not only did he get an excellent experience of how the government functions, but he got the opportunity to chat with his fellow workers and network. To perspective interns, Noble said, "be confident, persevering, get your name out there." He added some practical advice as well. "If you're applying for the Anderson fund, make sure you present a detailed budget that accounts for everything, like laundry, weekends, travel. Be prepared."

Noble, a rising senior with a history major and a government minor, is a senior editor for the Spectator, a former president of the Hamilton Republican's Club and a member of the Delta Phi fraternity. After he graduates in May, he plans to go to law school or return to the Capitol to work. 

-- by Lisbeth Redfield

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