“So you’re going to be a teacher?”
That’s the phrase every English student (whether inclined to the teaching profession or not) learns to expect after disclosing their degree of choice to anyone skeptical of the liberal arts. I spent the majority of my undergraduate degree resisting the misconception that English majors have only three career options in some form or other: teaching, editing, or writing.
My internship at the United States Senate provided an opportunity to prove the utility of an English degree in a setting beyond the classroom, publishing house, or writer’s loft. As an intern, I walked 10 miles a day, answered hundreds of constituent calls, and gave tours of the Capitol building. However, it wasn’t too long after the beginning of the internship that I received my first writing assignment. Using the underground tunnel system, I walked to my first hearing, pen and Senate stationery in hand, ready to take copious notes that would then be condensed into a short two-page memo. A day or two later and after several edits, I sent my summary to the staffer in charge of the legislative issue covered in the hearing, expecting feedback only to receive none.
Unlike in your Introduction to British Literature class, no feedback is good news. It means your writing skills got the task done—you were able to convey the issue at hand in an easily readable manner, saving time and preventing miscommunication. I am certain my English degree equipped me for success in the fast-paced environment of Capitol Hill. Using correct grammar and syntax in each undergraduate class taught correct verbal and written expression in an office setting. Attending Sigma Tau Delta‘s annual convention taught professionalism. Writing academic papers taught concise writing and provided the analytical skills necessary to understanding both sides of a political argument. Above all, Capitol Hill requires a genuine interest in the communication of ideas, a quality I believe all English majors possess. Thanks to Sigma Tau Delta’s Internship Stipend I was able to prove the value of an English major outside of what are considered to be traditional English major jobs.
Sigma Tau Delta offers funding for current undergraduate and graduate student members accepting non- or low-paying internships. The Internship Stipend is a competitive program providing a limited number of stipends of up to $1,500 each.
The internship must involve working for an “organization” while being directed by a supervisor/mentor within that organization, and the intern’s duties must be consistent with the applicant’s level of education, area of study, and career goals. Financial need will be taken into consideration in addition to internship length. Applicants are responsible for obtaining and providing verification of the internship. Please review the application guidelines for additional information.
The internship stipend does not apply to activities that are part of a student’s degree requirements, such as student teaching, and cannot be used to supplement a graduate assistantship.
Applications will be accepted Monday, October 12 through Monday, November 9, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST). Notifications will be made by December 7.