University of Illinois Law student interns for Senator Dick Durbin

By Senait Gebregiorgis

University of Illinois
student Joseph Torres spent two months as an
intern for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin this summer. Torres had the chance to
shadow and work in the Senator’s Capitol Hill Judiciary Committee office at
Senator Durbin’s Washington DC
senate office.


Torres received his undergraduate degree in political
science and philosophy at the University
of Saint Francis
and is now in his
second year of Law school at Illinois.
He always had a general interest in the political science field since high
school. After applying for the internship in early February and going through a
long interviewing process, he finally landed in DC this summer to experience researching
policy questions and doing some of Senator Durbin’s legislative duties.


“I started every morning just getting the paper but it could
be analyzing and comparing the text of two different, or the same bills,”
Torres said. “Some of that involved looking at how amendments would change a
bill or if there were some foreign or domestic issues they would come to me and
say ‘Hey can you look up what Congress or what so and so can do to fix this
situation?’ and then I would research and write a memo.”


Torres heard about the opportunity to apply for the
internship from a colleague who also interned at the Senator’s office. He
included how lucky he felt after being notified of his acceptance and working
with so many interns from different states.


“The graduate students, the legal interns and the
undergraduate interns they came from all different types of schools,” Torres
said. “I think the undergraduate interns they came from Yale and Bradley – not
necessarily just from Illinois. I
think I was the only one there who was from Illinois
who’s in Champaign.”


Torres and the other interns also had the chance to
personally meet Senator Dick Durbin.


“We did get to meet him one time and that was a great
experience, he’s an incredibly intelligent and funny man,” Torres said. “So we
got to sit in the office and shoot questions at him. He was telling us stories
about his family and his take on some political issues, and it was really fluid
and great conversation.”


The experience as an intern helped Torres gain valuable
insight into the legislative process.


“It’s pretty much whatever (the Judiciary Committee) wants
you to do you got to do it, but it’s fun,” Torres said. “It’s definitely not a
hard job to go into everyday. I mean I walked passed the Supreme Court every
morning – when you’re in that type of environment you wake up excited to go to