By Jessie Harris - 07/22/08 05:47 PM EDT
Alexa Jones has waist-length blond hair and smiles easily. She enjoys a night on the town in Dupont Circle with friends.
But don’t think she’s just a party girl; Jones is a serious student at the University of Pennsylvania, where spends much of her time in the library.
“I like to play hard and work hard,” says Jones, 20, with a laugh.
Working hard, though, is her main reason for taking an internship with the Committee on Natural Resources this summer.
“I knew I would be researching and learning a lot,” she says of her internship. In the committee office in the Longworth House Office Building, she works on reports and memos. Sometimes she attends congressional hearings.
Before you think of her as too cerebral, there’s another twist. As her tanned skin shows, Jones enjoys the outdoors and is training for a triathlon next spring. On hot summer days, she swims up to 80 laps in a pool at George Washington University. She draws inspiration from an Olympic swimmer, 41-year-old Dara Torres.
“She’s 41, and still won a best time,” she said of Torres’s recent win at the Olympic trials.
For the running and biking parts of the competition, she looks forward to training in Greece, where she will study abroad in the fall.
Jones owes her love of politics to father Bartow Jones, who was once a state legislator in West Virginia. His influence is in part why she wanted an internship on Capitol Hill. When Jones was 4, she cast her first state legislature vote while sitting on her father’s lap. She also met former Gov. Gaston Caperton while in elementary school and was impressed with his sincerity.
“I like being able to believe in a person who comes off as genuine,” Jones said of meeting Caperton. She says Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) impresses her in the same way.
As for her future holding a public office, she says she’ll leave it to someone else.
“I prefer to be behind the scenes,” she says. And perhaps she will be out of politics altogether; Jones also expresses an interest in joining Manhattan’s publishing industry.