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Bloomfield College Student Has Life-Changing Experience While Interning in D.C.

Bloomfield College

By Alicia Cook

Arianah Bell ’21 spent her summer as an intern with Winning Strategies Washington in Washington DC.

Bell, a TRIO SSS student with a passion for politics, is part of “America Needs You,” an organization committed to fighting for economic mobility for ambitious, low-income college students by providing intensive career development, mentorship, and more. The organization requires its members to take part in a summer internship. She knew she wanted her experience to be politic-based.

“As a person of color, politics have always been important to me. We need to know our rights and be our own advocate,” expressed Bell, who plans to earn graduate and law degrees, ultimately work on “The Hill,” and then for a nonprofit organization.

Bell began researching potential opportunities in the winter of 2019. With help from the Center for Career Development and the TRIO SSS Program at the College, she was accepted as an intern at Winning Strategies Washington. Her expenses, such as food, housing and transportation, were covered by a scholarship, which allowed her to focus fully on her work as a government relations intern.

Her responsibilities included attending hearings that ranged from budgets to the opioid epidemic; creating hearing memos; researching prospective clients; and attending panels.

“I learned to defend my ideas, to stand up for myself, and be a better networker,” said history major.

Her favorite moments of her months spent in Washington consisted of meeting people she respects and admires, most notably “The Squad.” The foursome is made up of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY); Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA); Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

Bell plans on interning this summer with Congressman Pascrell Jr., the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 9th congressional district (which includes Bell’s hometown of Paterson).

“Internships are so significant,” said Bell. “You gain skills and experience you can never get just by sitting in a classroom. Book theory is important, but internships provide real-world application of those theories.”