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July 25, 2017
When Northwest Missouri State University student Tara Logan sought an internship in the California legislature this summer, she landed not one but two.
Logan, a junior from Olathe, Kansas, secured internships in the offices of California Sen. Bob Hertzberg and U.S. Congressman Tony Cardenas, who represent Los Angeles County’s eastern valley.
She was accepted to both internships after relocating to California for the summer to live with family and passing on another internship offer from Aflac insurance company.
“These internships are preparing me for my future career by allowing me to understand the workings of two professional offices,” Logan said. “I am able to apply what I’m learning in the classroom to the real world. My maturity, professionalism and social skills have greatly improved since starting these internships, and I plan to carry those skills with me after completing the programs.”
Splitting her time in the two offices, Logan is working on their frontlines, connecting with constituents through phone calls and community activities and recording their input on legislation. Additionally, she conducts research and works on the social media team in Hertzberg’s office.
“I’m learning communications skills and a lot of professionalism skills,” Logan said. “When you have a major project, like my research that has one deadline, and have to post to Twitter, which is several times throughout the day, it’s a lot of time management and balancing.”
At Northwest, Logan has taken an active interest in political science and lobbying after arriving at the University as a computer science major and trying coursework in accounting and finance. She found her niche as a business economics major with a minor in political science.
In addition to being an ambassador for Northwest’s Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business, she was vice president of the Young Democrats club and treasurer of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars chapter last year.
Last spring, Logan organized an information session, called “Let Your Voice Be Heard,” to educate classmates about grassroots lobbying and offer advice about contacting elected officials. She also traveled to Jefferson City, Missouri, as part of the annual Legislative Reception organized by Northwest’s Student Senate.
She also works as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader for Assistant Professor of Political Science Daniel Smith’s introduction to government course.
Logan says her experiences this summer have helped her learn more strategies and skills while gaining broader knowledge of government.
“I’m learning general government fundamentals that I talk about in my SI sessions,” Logan said. “I’ve seen all of those in action, and I’m seeing a different side of grassroots lobbying, which I think is phenomenal. I’m going to take the experiences that I’m learning and I’m going to apply them to future SI sessions so I can help students connect with what they’re learning in the classroom.”
In addition to the profession-based experiences she’s added to her résumé, Logan credits other career planning and networking skills she’s developed at Northwest for her success in securing her summer internships.
She encourages students to use LinkedIn and update their profiles frequently. She also established a personal website with skills she learned in a managerial communication course at Northwest.
“I added my professional experience and other things to make it into a really nice e-portfolio,” she said. “When I was applying for internships, I encouraged the employer to look at my website, which they did. I believe that the website had a large part in the selection process for the internships.”
After completing her degree at Northwest, Logan hopes to work on a campaign and eventually join a staff for a government office.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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