During this midterm election year, many Hamilton students spent the summer volunteering for candidates on a national and local level. AlMahdi Mahil ’20 was one of them – working as an intern for Democratic PAC Secure Progress and for a congressional campaign in Virginia. Here’s what he had to say about his experience.
Tell me more about your internship.
I worked as a political intern for Secure Progress, a democratic PAC and as an intern in the Dan Helmer Congressional Campaign in Virginia's 10th District.
How did you find this internship opportunity?
Through Handshake (Hamilton College) for the campaign, but I was approached by the candidate later on to work on the 501(c)(4) organization he founded.
What were your responsibilities?
I had a variety of roles, ranging from direct voter outreach to building donor bases, evaluating both organizational and public policy, researching a host of legislation, manipulating and maintaining enormous voter databases, among other things.
Majors: International Relations and Economics
Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan
High School: SIA
What was your average day?
My day usually involved making a number of phone calls, making updates and editing the different databases, conducting some canvassing and voter outreach, and participating in periodic town halls. Through my second internship, my work was much more analytical. I spent a large portion of my time looking at detailed maps and spreadsheets.
What drew you to this internship?
I wished to get firsthand experience in the political decision-making process and how it maps unto wider policy initiatives, like foreign policy positions. The campaign's proximity to Washington D.C., as well as the presence of a very large number of federal employees in the district, made it an especially inviting place.
What do you like best about your internship? What do you find most rewarding?
I got to work with an incredible team of professionals and students like myself and was gratified to see quantifiable results manifest in the form of voter support and national recognition.
What do you find the most challenging?
The long work hours were a bit challenging at first, but after a while, I managed to find a rhythm that worked for me and my team.
What's your prior interest in this field?
Aside from my major in international relations, I am the co-president of Hamilton's Model United Nations club, which deals with issues of foreign policy, international diplomacy and cooperation, and political institutions.
What are your plans for the future? Do they relate to your internship?
I hope to continue to meaningfully affect positive change in society, through both political and cultural means.