The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Internship Spotlight: Peter Houston, Massachusetts State Senate

Headshot of student Peter Houston

Peter Houston, Master of Public Policy and Administration/Master of Business Administration 2019
Kirkland, Washington

Where I interned: The Office of Massachusetts State Senator Anne Gobi

What I did there: I had several tasks, both short term and long term. I worked on day-to-day tasks such as helping our legislative office gain support on legislation and updating data for the office. I also worked on briefings and research our legislator was interested in, which gave me the opportunity to learn about a bunch of policy issues I was not previously familiar with.

The most important thing I learned: Even the seemingly smallest policy issues have a lot of different stakeholders and angles to consider. It really puts the legislative process into perspective.

The most challenging part of my internship: Any internship requires you to be a bit entrepreneurial and demonstrate your own skills and value—especially when you’re required to build your own project/issue portfolio.

What surprised me the most: This wasn’t a big surprise, but being there really drove home how cumbersome and time-consuming legislative action can be. This was especially the case as we closed in on the end of the legislative session!

Why I’m studying public policy: I’ve worked in several policy/public service-adjacent roles in my career. However, I was interested into getting into roles where I could have a direct role in the legislative/policy-making process.

Future plans: My future plans are pretty open ended, but I’m hoping to eventually get into nonprofit management or working for an advocacy nonprofit or NGO.


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