|U.S. Rep. Allen West and intern Joanna Casper|
Spending the summer interning in a Congressional office was the ultimate dream job for Palm Beach Atlantic University student Joanna Casper, who can trace her interest in politics to her early childhood.
"I feel like I’ve been involved in politics or hearing about it or discussing it pretty much my whole life," said Casper, a senior from Wyndmoor, Pa., who is majoring in political science. "I have early memories of just sitting around the dinner table on Sunday nights with my grandparents, my parents and all my aunts and uncles and just having really great political discussions."
These days, she’s seeing politics in action through her work assisting U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, and his staff in his West Palm Beach office.
While many people think that all she does is campaigning, she said her daily tasks mostly involve working with constituents.
"People will contact our office with any federal problems they’re having. A lot of it is just case work, people calling about immigration, veteran’s benefits, things of that nature," she said.
One of her favorite duties involves scanning newspaper articles and talking to people about outstanding citizens who are having a positive impact on the community. Rep. West makes an effort to recognize them personally, she said.
"He’s such an awesome man to work for, so genuine. It’s really nice to work for someone who cares so much about ordinary people in the community who are doing amazing things," said Casper, who plays on PBA’s women’s lacrosse team and is a member of the University’s Newman Club.
Her boss is frequently on the road, both in his district and in Washington, D.C., but Casper said she recently had a chance to accompany him during a speaking engagement in Palm Beach County.
Rep. West said he enjoys working with student interns and learning from their vibrant new ideas and visions, and at the same time they benefit by getting a better understanding of how the legislative branch works.
"I think that this is a very vital thing that gives them a great perspective and experience that they can take back to their colleges and universities, and I think it makes them better overall citizens," Rep. West said.