Intern of the week

Shohrae Dejbakhsh, 20, works in the office of Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). Born in Palm Springs, Calif., she spent her childhood and adolescence moving around Orange County; Vancouver, Wash.; New Castle, Wash.; and  Louisville, Ky.

Her name (pronounced Sheray Dejshbash) is Iranian. Her father is from Iran; her mother is American. “So I’m half-Persian,” she explains.

Patrick G. Ryan
Shohrae Dejbakhsh with Rep. Reichert


Dejbakhsh, who began her internship during the summer, attends Harding University in Searcy, Ark. It is a small, private, Christian college that requires her to complete an internship before graduation.

“I had heard all sorts of wild stories,” she says of her Christian college, “not wild as in bad, but different, very Southern, obviously.” She thinks of the experience as “stepping away from my comfort zone, if you will.”

Before acquiring her internship on Capitol Hill, Dejbakhsh spent a few summers in D.C. working for student programs such as Lead America. During that time, she met a number of Hill interns; their experiences made her pursue a Hill internship of her own.

But, she says, she wanted it to be meaningful; she wanted to work for someone she respected. So she studied the lawmakers from the places she has lived and came up with Reichert. “I felt like it’s not always the most glamorous job, [but] it really adds something to your experience if you can feel like you’re aiding a cause,” she says.

So far so good.

“I’m kind of a nerd in the sense that I like seeing the representatives and having the opportunity to work around them,” she says.

Among her favorite experiences so far is listening to the prime minister of India speak in the Capitol. Her daily duties include “normal intern stuff, inputing mail, answering phones, occasionally attending briefings.”

Dejbakhsh plans to return to college in January, but when she graduates she wants to find a permanent staff position in politics. “I’d love to return to the Hill and work as staff, hopefully with Congressman Reichert,” she says. “That would be wonderful.”