Alumna Anna Marie DiMascia gets to work in the Nation’s Capital
Hometown: Southampton, Pennsylvania
Major: Politics with a concentration in International Studies
Minor: History, Theology
Graduation: January of 2013
With midterm election results in and Congress back in session, the Hill is back to its fast-paced routine. This past week, Her Campus was able to catch up with former alumna, Anna Marie DiMascia, and get the scoop on how to snatch up success post-graduation. Anna Marie was actively involved all four years while at CUA, but most importantly, today, she is a prime example of how to stand out when the real world hits and you are working in the Nation’s Capital.
HER CAMPUS: Hi Anna Marie, we are so excited we get to speak with you. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
ANNA MARIE: I am so honored you chose to speak with me, thank you! I am from a small town in Pennsylvania. I attended Catholic University until I graduated early in January of 2013. Today I work on Capitol Hill for a House Representative, and I love my job.
HER CAMPUS: Graduating early and landing a job right out of college, you strike us as a go-getter Anna Marie! How did you prepare yourself for post-graduate life? Did you partake in any internships?
ANNA MARIE: In order to prepare, I did several internships. The first internship I did began the summer after my sophomore year, and I worked in Washington, DC through the fall for a House Representative. This experience taught me the value and importance of constituents. Following that, in the spring of 2012, with the assistance and recommendation of my professors at Catholic, I was able to work in a Senator’s office. Working in the Senate taught me the importance of seeing the constituent’s needs collectively and how they fit together as a unit. Finally, in the summer of 2012, I was able to work for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where I focused on interests and how to use the legislative process to pass a bill. Together, my internships laid the foundation to understand the entire legislative process, which I find beneficial in the little details of my every-day job.
HER CAMPUS: Wow! It sounds like you really took advantage of all Catholic has to offer. Would you say Catholic helped network you into a job? What kind of advice do you have for underclassmen wanting to achieve success in politics?
ANNA MARIE: I would say Catholic sets you up with the tools to succeed, but it’s up to you to seize them and put your newfound skills to use. For example, I was always in the resume workshops and taking advantage of Career Services and Cardinal Connections. It’s also important to reach out to professors and Alumni. I had several professors who worked during the day and taught at night. Those are the kind of people who can help funnel you into a job that is a real application of the material you are learning in class. First and foremost, I would advise underclassmen to take advantage of internships that allow you to see the whole process. Secondly, Catholic is wonderful and cozy campus, but DC is a city of go-getters. Jobs are being created here, and in order to land one, you need to get out there and make yourself known. Everywhere you go you should leave a positive mark. Make someone not just want to hire you, but make them feel as though they need you on their team. Don’t sit back on your heels and wait for something to happen.
HER CAMPUS: Speaking of what to do, and what not to do, what are some qualities your office looks for in an intern?
ANNA MARIE: Have confidence and be outgoing. We look for students who go above and beyond what the task calls for. I love when an intern is able to see past the mundane task and understand why it’s really important for the Congressman and why it’s important they work hard to complete it. We also appreciate individuals who are able to multitask and can solve problems quickly. There are times on the phone when constituents can be difficult, and it’s important to handle it quickly and effectively. Lastly, I love an intern who can figure out the solution to his or her own question or problem. When I don’t have to hold their hand through the process, I often think, “Wow. There’s someone who is going to go after what they want and succeed.”
HER CAMPUS: I am sure many aspiring politicians will find that insightful. Is there a specific skill you would value the most post-gradation?
ANNA MARIE: Without a doubt, writing. In College, you will write 15-page papers and have weeks to complete an assignment. On the Hill, you are lucky if you have an hour and everyone’s time is precious. You have to effectively be able to condense your writing and get right to the point, while still making strong arguments. It is a hard skill to master, so take advantage of Catholic’s writing workshops, and you will have it down in no time.
HER CAMPUS: Our last question is one of our favorites, what do you love to see your interns wearing, and what screams “no!”?
ANNA MARIE: (laughs) Girls, that mini black skirt you wore to Sign of the Whale on Thursday? Trendy, cute, good for you, but absolutely not appropriate for the office. I think it’s important to maintain a conservative look with a little bit of flare. Try pops of color, patterned flats, or a statement necklace, but absolutely leave those bar clothes, for the bar. This is the Nation’s Capital after all.