Measuring the shutdown impact: Student interns

Shutdown. Gridlock. Furloughs.

There are plenty of serious consequences to the federal shutdown, but there’s also a minor one felt across GW’s campus: Interrupted internships and work-study jobs.

Unpaid interns on Capitol Hill will still go into work and they expect to answer the brunt of the angry calls in their representative’s congressional districts.

But others, some on federal work-study jobs in places like the Peace Corps and interns at agencies and federal departments, will be sent home for at most 27 days.

Here’s a snapshot of students during the shutdown.

Connor Schmidt: Intern, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Schmidt was sent home from his for-credit internship at the White House on Monday with the rest of the about 100 staffers in his office, without knowing when he would return.

He had to put his research on hold, but the sophomore majoring in political science said he is pleased that, unlike some students with internships at other executive departments, he won’t lose days of his internship. They will tack on however many days he missed to the end of his program.

“It’s disappointing that it’s so childish,” Schmidt said. “But I’d be a lot more upset if it wasn’t getting added on at the end. There are a lot of people out there who are losing that time.”

Alex Miller: Federal Work-Study Student, Smithsonian Institution

Miller will miss out on his paycheck until the government starts back up. And while he said that as a citizen the shutdown was “disappointing,” he’s optimistic that he’ll be back to work soon.

He said that he wants to work for the government one day, and that although this is a blip, it does not discourage his federal employment aspirations.

A biological anthropology major, Miller works in the Museum Support Center for the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology.

Marie Paoli: Student Program Analyst, U.S. Department of State

Paoli, who will continue her paid internship, said she is one of the lucky ones. She received notice that, for now, she’s “essential” to her department, which is using its contingency fund to continue paying workers.

But she said there is a “culture of uncertainty” because there will be a new plan every week the shutdown continues.

“No one really has much of a sense of how long this is going to last. I could go into work tomorrow and it could be a totally different thing,” she said.

Raksha Kalyanaraman: Intern, House of Representatives

Kalyanaraman said she is actually “really excited” about the government shutdown to take a part in history. Interns on the Hill, she said, are continuing to go in because they are unpaid and because most office staffers are still working through the shutdown as well.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience. The government hasn’t shut down in 17 years. This is really unusual and I’m going to gain more experience going to work in the shutdown than I would in the average day,” she said.

On Monday, she manned the phones as her Connecticut congressman was flooded with calls from constituents concerned about the Affordable Care Act and the potential shutdown. And as the chaos continues, she expects to be busier than usual.

“The outrage from the public will be so much more now that it has shut down,” Kalyanaraman said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.