Ellie BaileyInternship: Capitol Hill

Vote BisonDecember 2, 2019 | Interning on Capitol Hill offers a variety of unique experiences. For example, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to witness the impeachment inquiry vote from the staff gallery in the House Chamber. It was thrilling to watch such a historic event occur firsthand and bizarre to see news coverage later that day and know that I had been in the room where it happened.

Hill interns also have the opportunity to attend various receptions for interest groups during the evenings after work. Last week the interns in my office attended the National Bison Day reception, an event hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, to celebrate the United States’ national mammal. There was a variety of bison themed food as well as free bison pins and stickers. While at the reception I happened to run into another AU Gap student who is also interning on the Hill.

Last week my intern cohort was also given the opportunity to eat lunch with the Senator and ask him questions about current events and government. After working for the office for a few months it was exciting to speak with the official whose name we represent when we answer phone calls and give tours. Since I am also from the state that my office represents, I was especially intrigued to hear what one of my representatives had to say about the state of government in America today.

Overall, I am extraordinarily grateful for the experience I have had in both the gap program and my internship thus far, and look forward to all I will learn in the remaining few weeks.

Blog History


Ellie BaileyInternship: Capitol Hill

October 21, 2019 | Over the weekend I took the train to visit a friend and some family who live in Richmond. On Saturday night while sitting in my uncle and aunt’s living room I found myself explaining what I was up to during my gap year. As I was recounting some humorous anecdotes about interning on the Hill and expressing my excitement for the next chapter of my gap year abroad next semester, my aunt commented that it seemed like I was extremely busy. She then said, “It seems like your gap year is a valuable use of time… not wasted but put towards learning new things and skills.” Her comment could not better encapsulate why I am so grateful I chose to participate in the AU gap program this fall. 

During my senior year of high school I felt exhausted and burnt out between my rigorous course load and full schedule of extracurricular activities. Juggling AP courses, Varsity sports practices, chorus and orchestra rehearsals, and standardized tests preparation left little time to reflect on what I wanted to do with my future or who I was. 

The AU Gap program is all about balance. Taking two courses is a step down from the full regimen of classes I was taking in high school but has allowed me to retain my study skills and academic writing abilities. Interning three days a week gives me the opportunity to learn how to navigate a professional environment and gain confidence in my abilities as an employee. At the end of each day I find that I still have time to pursue other interests such as theater and music. I am grateful for this much needed period of self reflection and growth in my life. 

If you are searching for a gap program that will allow you to similarly keep your academic skills in tact but also give you the opportunity to explore your interests, this is the program for you.


October 7, 2019 | My time in the American University Gap Program continues to present a myriad of new opportunities and experiences. My internship has been a bit slow lately because Congress is currently in recess. Regardless, I am still learning a lot and thoroughly enjoy being in the nation's capital as the current events in the news surrounding the government evolve. On another note, at the beginning of the semester my intern cohort attended Capitol Tour training, and one of my favorite parts of being an intern now is giving tours of the Capitol. Interacting with constituents is deeply rewarding, and I loved learning about the history and architecture of the building.

Outside of my internship I recently finished acting in a play with one of AU's student theater groups: the AU Rude Mechanicals. We performed a version of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors. The play's many rehearsals allowed me to forge new friendships with many students outside the gap program. As much as I enjoy the company of the other gap students, it was fun to broaden my horizons and meet new people.

On days when I do not have my internship or other obligations I enjoy spending time in the Bridge Cafe on campus. It is located close to the gap students' dorm, has a cozy atmosphere, and serves delicious bagels and coffee. It is a relaxing place to work on homework or read the news for work.

This weekend is AU's Fall Break, and I am looking forward to taking the train from Union Station to visit my friend from high school who attends college in Richmond. After I return, congress will resume session on Tuesday. The next few weeks will definitely be exciting in Washington.

American University Gap Ambassador Ellie Bailey

Ellie BaileyInternship: Capitol Hill

September 23, 2019 | Hello! My name is Ellie, and I am from Arlington, Virginia. I decided to take a gap year in order to explore my interests outside the classroom, develop new skills, and reflect on what I hope to achieve in college and beyond. I specifically chose to enroll in AU’s gap program in order to immerse myself in a different side of Washington. I attended high school in the city but was never exposed to the inner workings of the government quite like I have been during my internship so far.

This semester I am interning for a Senate office on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I am thinking about possibly majoring in political science when I go to college and believe this internship will help me learn firsthand what a career in that field might look like.

When I am not at my internship on Mondays and Wednesdays I catch up on sleep, attend my two academic courses, and play viola at the AU Symphony Orchestra’s evening rehearsals. My friends from the gap program also enjoy catching up with each other on these days in one of the lounges in Leonard Hall. I enjoy listening to my peers discuss what they are learning from their internships and what they think about the topics we are discussing in our classes. A few friends and I are planning on visiting the National Zoo next week during some of our free time to see the pandas.

Even though I am from the DC area I have found that being a student at American University has exposed me to all sorts of new events and activities both on campus and off. For example,the gap cohort participated in an event during our first few days called the Amazing Race. Our team scoured the city for a list of items ranging from a photo of our group with the Batmobile (found at the National Museum of American History by the way) to a lottery ticket (which we purchased in Tenleytown).

I am so excited to see what is in store for the remaining months of the program!