From California to Capitol Hill: A Q&A with Schar School Student Matthew Glaubke

Matthew Glaubke (right) stands with Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) (left) in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
While at the Schar School, senior Matthew Glaubke interned with Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA).

This is part of the Schar School's student-to-student story series where undergraduates are interviewed and profiled by their peers.

At George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, Matthew Glaubke turned his Capitol Hill dreams into reality.

A current senior and Thousand Oaks, California, native, Glaubke knew he wanted to pursue a degree in government and international politics. “I toured a number of other schools in California and Virginia, and Mason was the first place I felt comfortable and at home on campus,” he said. “In the end, it was the Schar School’s commitment to its students’ success and the helpfulness of the admissions staff that gave me full confidence in my decision.” 

At the Schar School, Glaubke had the opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill. I asked him why he wanted to work on Capitol Hill, how he secured his internship, and what it entailed.

Why did you want to work on Capitol Hill?
I have always been interested in the policy process and how legislation can be used to improve lives. A job on the Hill would allow me to work in a number of different issue areas I care about.

How did you find your internship?
I found my Hill internship because Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) is my representative at home. I had previously worked for my city government and interned for California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. This was something I had been working toward for years.

Matthew Glaubke smiles at the camera as he stands in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Matthew Glaubke: ‘I have always been interested in the policy process and how legislation can be used to improve lives.’

Did you use any Schar School resources to help you get your internship?
One resource I used was the class credit the Schar School offers for internships [Undergraduate Internship Program]. This allowed me to work 24 hours a week on the Hill while maintaining a 15-credit course load. This was extremely valuable to me because it allowed me to gain work experience while also maintaining my academic track.

Tell me about your time on the Hill? Who did you work for, what was your position, and your responsibilities?
I worked as an intern for Congresswoman Brownley in the fall semester of 2022. As a congressional intern, I was responsible for taking constituent calls and writing responses from the congresswoman, leading tours of the Capitol, sitting in on meetings with lobbyists, attending hearings, and writing memos.

What was the most valuable skill you learned while working on the Hill?
The most important thing I learned as an intern on the Hill is to always make yourself available to help. There are always people in the office who could use assistance with something, and if you’re not assigned anything, you should ask others. The staffers in the office will help you in your post-grad job search and are a fantastic resource for you. While I was a legislative intern, I worked with our communications staff frequently and was given the opportunity to work on things that some interns don’t get to, such as finding cosponsors for our bills. One of the bills was the Elizabeth Dole Home- and Community-Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act, to improve VA programs for aging veterans. The bill didn't pass while I was an intern, but it did pass the House Veterans Affairs Committee later. This was the must fulfilling responsibility I had during my time on the Hill and I'm grateful to have been trusted by our legislative staff.

What is your advice for current Schar School students who may want to work on the Hill? How can they get the most out of the experience?
Find (and work on) what you’re passionate about. This will be useful for a couple of reasons. First, it can help you find a representative or senator who works on issues you care about. Much of the legislation a representative drafts relates to the committees they serve on, and you want your work to line up with what you care about. Talk to everyone you can, make friends with other interns, and keep connected with the people you meet after your internship.