Alexis Cates’s motivation for interning for her congressman, Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), separates her from much of the pack.
When the 19-year-old George Washington University freshman first met Jindal at a rally, she already had a keen interest in politics. She was sufficiently impressed by him to work on his election campaign in 2004 and again in 2006.
As a resident of Mandeville, La., a suburb of New Orleans, Cates was one of the thousands of Louisiana residents affected by Hurricane Katrina. While the storm did not hit her hometown as badly as it did the neighboring city, she was forced to evacuate. Cates lived with friends in Massachusetts for six weeks, attending a high school there until her own reopened.
“It was really hard, because I was unsure of the state of my house,” she says. “I was constantly worried if things were ever going to be normal again. In the end we only suffered moderate damage.”
The experience has helped make her internship especially rewarding. As an intern, Cates greatly enjoys being able to work for Jindal as he devotes much of his focus to the rebuilding of Louisiana.
And while she is highly interested in that effort, Cates has been excited about many other aspects of her work on Capitol Hill, from doing research to contacting constituents to undertaking general office work. Her internship began in the summer of 2005, but she hopes to continue well into the months ahead. Interning for Jindal was part of the reason she chose to attend George Washington University, where she is pre-med and majoring in biology.