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Spring 2006 - Senate

Destination Purdue > Spring 2006 - Senate

Intern works with U.S. senator on public policy

By Ross L. Trentadue

When Shane Hageman applied for the opportunity to work for a U.S. senator, he never imagined he would work with the director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Lugar and student

Photo provided by Shane Hageman

U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (left) and Shane Hageman, a sophomore agricultural economics and political science major from Remington, Ind., pose for a photograph during Hageman’s summer internship in Washington, D.C.

Hageman, a Purdue University sophomore majoring in agricultural economics and political science from Remington, Ind., worked on foreign policy issues, World Trade Organization problems and federal crop insurance issues for Indiana's senior U.S. senator, Richard Lugar.

Hageman obtained this internship through Purdue Agriculture's Washington, D.C. Public Policy Internships. "This internship provided me with the experience on how the government deals and handles important issues and how senators prepare themselves to discuss these issues," said Hageman. "The contacts that I made in Washington, D.C. will be very beneficial in helping me start my career in agriculture policy."

Meeting Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), made his experience more exciting and interesting, and allowed him to truly understand the daily duties and responsibilities that senators have, Hageman said.

In his day-to-day duties for Lugar, Hageman conducted research on foreign policy, World Trade Organization trade disputes and federal crop insurance issues. He also had dinner at least once a week with Lugar where he had one-on-one talks about the internship and how Lugar felt about the current buzz around the Hill. "Having dinner with Lugar and doing other daily tasks for him helped me learn what it is like to be a U.S. senator. It also taught me what I could possibly be doing if I pursued a career in politics," said Hageman.

The internship provided Hageman with living arrangements and a monthly stipend that helped pay for food and other expenses. "I stayed at the Georgetown Law School dormitories, which was located four blocks from where I worked every day," said Hageman. "I wasn't alone in D.C. Three other students were there from Purdue, so I had some familiar faces to talk to while I was there."

One of Hageman's most memorable moments was when Lugar's assistant asked Hageman if he knew how to drive a stick shift so he could run an errand. Of course I do, Hageman answered, all the while remembering the times he drove the grain truck back and forth from the field during harvest season on his family farm in Remington. "I laughed pretty hard when the assistant asked me if I knew how to drive stick shift," said Hageman. "It helped remind me that coming from a small town I was still able to do things I grew up doing, just in a little different context."

On Hageman's free time he enjoyed site seeing and traveling to many other cities in the D.C. area. "I was able to see the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery," said Hageman. "I also visited Philadelphia and New York City on more than one occasion and showed some friends around D.C. when they came out to visit."

Hageman encouraged those who want to get involved in politics to get involved with government early. Experience in different clubs and organizations will help obtaining an internship like his, Hageman said.