Christensen, who is originally from Lennox, South Dakota, has learned firsthand the intricacies of the South Dakota Legislature while interning on the Appropriations Committee under Sen. Jean Hunhoff.

Christensen’s day-to-day responsibilities include assisting in the technological side of committee meetings, compiling budget summaries for agents presenting to the committee, and conducting research on previous legislation. Christensen said that being directly involved in the legislative process has taken her educational foundation to the next level. 

“You can learn a lot in classes about state government and this process in general, but nothing compares to being a part of the legislative session firsthand,” said Christensen. “It is really cool to get to be behind the scenes on these conversations and decisions.”

Christensen's favorite part of her internship in Pierre has been getting to work with and learn from knowledgeable and experienced legislators. Christensen credits their mentorship with providing her a deeper understanding of how South Dakota's state government works.

“I have already gained a whole new understanding of this process, as well as a far greater appreciation for our legislators and all the work they put in during this time” said Christensen. “I would have never gotten to know the insight and knowledge they share if I wasn't here in Pierre actively being a part of this experience.”

With the help of Eric Jepsen, Ph.D., professor of political science, Christensen was encouraged to pursue this opportunity to take her political science education outside the classroom.

“I think USD does a great job of providing resources for students to learn more about this opportunity such as informational sessions and connections to previous interns,” Christensen said. “They offer flexible class schedules so us students can continue further in our education and do this internship at the same time. The department does a very good job of making it doable for all students.”

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