Tharunkrishna Vemulapalli’19

Even when I first came to Bowdoin, I knew that I wanted to go back home to Chicago at some point in my career and work to alleviate the struggles that certain parts of the city are facing. Since high school, I have been engaged in public service and governmental work by participating in political clubs at school and aiding in various campaigns around Illinois. My strong interest in public service is what ultimately informed my decision to be a Government and Environmental Studies coordinate major at Bowdoin. Along this vein, my internship search for the summer initially led me to various organizations in Washington DC. While many of these organizations were doing meaningful work and aligned with my research interests back at Bowdoin, my hope was that I could engage in public service work back in Chicago. So, when I saw that an internship with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office in Chicago was open, I knew this was the ideal opportunity for me.

Senator Duckworth was the state representative for my congressional district as I was growing up and she is now my senator, so the internship at her office in Chicago will allow me to serve the constituents that I know so well. As someone who hopes to continue serving the people of Chicago and Illinois through governmental work, this internship will also provide me with the necessary tools and connections to make that goal a reality. I also have law school on my horizon, so the opportunity to work directly with Senator Duckworth’s constituents to meet their needs and participate in governmental meetings will position me well to succeed in a law or policy environment. Coursework at Bowdoin such as NGOs in Politics and Public Opinion and Voting have also provided me with the necessary theoretical framework and concrete knowledge to thrive in a public service environment. In terms of work experiences, I aided an Arctic Council working group last year when they came to Bowdoin’s campus. Through this experience, I gained significant insight into what type of policies can help alleviate social ills.

Chicagoland will always be my home and my dream is to make it a better place by helping the most vulnerable break the cycle of poverty and despair. I genuinely believe I have the ability to make this dream happen. The internship with Senator Duckworth’s office is simply a start, but one that will be deeply fulfilling and will allow me to serve the communities that I care about.