Meet Madeline Farnham, a senior at Syracuse University, who has joined Penn Hill Group as an intern this fall. With an interest in communications and education, Madeline is a public relations and public affairs double major.
See our interview with Madeline below to learn more about her and all that she brings to our office. Welcome, Madeline!
How did you decide to spend a semester in DC?
During my first semester I became randomly enrolled in an introductory public affairs course, and discovered my passion for public policy. Although I had originally intended to be a public relations major, I am now a double major in public relations and public affairs. I wanted to come to DC to get a better feel for how politics actually work. The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs offers a semester-long program, Maxwell in Washington, that allows me to live and work in the city while taking night classes and networking with Syracuse alumni in a variety of fields. Moving to D.C. with this 17-person program has been a huge learning curve and I am having a blast.
What do you hope to do or learn during this internship?
Through my internship at Penn Hill Group, I hope to gain a better understanding of the intersection of policy and communications. Penn Hill Group is the perfect opportunity for me to see my two passions brought together and I hope I can be a helpful member of the team. I am also looking to gain a more thorough understanding of legislation and influencers in this field and develop a better sense of what the future of education in America looks like. As a former intern in both the U.S. House and Senate, my work at Penn Hill Group is allowing me to gain experience working in the private sector, which for me is something totally new and different.
What interests you most about education?
I believe the public education system in America is one of the largest and most influential institutions our nation has created. However, it faces a lot of problems. What interests me most about education is the wide range of opinions held on what is best for future generations. I do not know what the right answers are or how we can best improve our system, but I am hoping this internship will help me gain a better understanding of possible solutions.
What are some of your future goals?
Having spent a few years working with students in the Syracuse City School District, my interest in teaching has grown quite a bit. I believe teaching experience will help me become a more effective education policy specialist. I am also interested in law school, but I plan on getting some years of work experience before I head back to school. Careers in government relations, political communications and education policy are all of interest to me.
What did you do this summer?
This summer I spent most of my time working in the Burlington district office of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Working for Senator Leahy was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about issues that Vermonters face every day and advocate for small communities facing a variety of issues throughout the state. I also went on an amazing road trip throughout the Northeast and spent a lot of quality time on the water!