“I think this is a real testament to the aptitude, diligence and aspirations of our students,” said Eric Jepsen, Ph.D., coordinator of undergraduate studies and professor in the Department of Political Science. “They are committed to public service and playing a role in the very hard work on the part of legislators, legislative staffers and the executive branch that goes into each legislative session.

“We are fortunate that South Dakota has the best legislative internship program in the country – one that provides crucial experiences for our students and offers them the opportunity to participate in the two intense months of policy deliberations and legislating that occurs each spring,” he continued.

The student interns work in Pierre for the duration of the legislative session, starting right before the first day of session (Jan. 10) through the last day (March 9). Some students return for “Veto Day” on March 27, where the legislature reconsiders any bills the governor vetoed.

During their time in Pierre, student interns are responsible for a variety of tasks, including keeping track of bills, monitoring bills and testimony in committee, helping legislators craft special bills of commendation and other duties depending on their assignment.

Madisen Vetter, a freshman double majoring in political science and legal studies, holds her internship position with the Governor’s Office. In her role, Vetter is responsible for supporting the Governor’s Office staff on various projects.

“This experience will prepare me for my future in politics,” Vetter said. “It counts for my degree in political science and allows me to see the process and inner workings of the executive branch. I hope to eventually step foot in the legislature, and this opportunity will prepare me for what to expect.”

Kailena Anderson, a senior majoring in political science with minors in psychology and criminal justice, is interning in the Senate. She is assigned to Sen. Casey Crabtree but helps other senators as needed. Anderson chose to take on this internship opportunity to gain more relevant work experience.

“The legislative internship allows me to put my in-class learning into practice, which has been extremely rewarding,” Anderson said. “Building upon the skills I already have and extrapolating new skills, this internship is going to act as an excellent demonstration of the quality of my education and the abilities I garnered from it.”

Anderson said her time in USD’s Department of Political Science has helped prepare her for this internship by equipping her with invaluable writing and communication skills.

“Both of these transferrable skills have been of the utmost importance in my job duties,” she continued. “In addition to this though, my education at USD provided me with an understanding of the legislative process and a strong base of knowledge on many of the issues being addressed this session.”

In addition to Vetter and Anderson, the following USD students currently hold internship positions in the House and Senate:

  • Griffin Peterson
  • Ethan Gladue
  • Jack Maher
  • Taylor Van Emmerik
  • Hailey Reisner
  • Quinn Bormann
  • Ally Feiner
  • Marissa Kjorness
  • Hailey Harken
  • Abbie Schneider
  • Avery Palsma

“We have a long track record of placing students in these internships and a community of faculty, staff, and alumni dedicated to trying to help our student participate in these kinds of high-value activities,” Jepsen said. “Thanks to the Farber Fund, we also have resources to help students participate in these kinds of experiences.”

Press Contact
Hanna DeLange
Contact Email usdnews@usd.edu
Contact Website website