Paige Jansen, a first-year majoring in strategic political communications and multimedia journalism at Drake University, has taken her talents in photography and applied them to her internship at the Iowa State Capitol.
“Right now I am interning with the Iowa Senate Democrat Communications Team,” Jansen said. “So I am pretty much just taking a lot of photos for them, doing some video editing and helping with social media.”
Jansen said that last semester she had seen a post in the Drake Democrats group chat about a broad internship at the capitol. When she did further research, she saw the opportunity for a communications internship.
Rusty Martin, communications director for the Senate Democratic Research Staff, said that he first met Jansen after receiving a recommendation from House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst.
“Paige was very energetic and ready to do anything,” Martin said. “If you’re talking to college freshmen or college students who want a job, they are ready to say ‘Yes, I can do anything. I am ready to do it,’ and Paige was right there with that sort of deal.”
Jansen has enjoyed her experience this semester and has learned a lot through her internship.
“Before coming in, I hadn’t really had such an interest in localized politics, but after being here and being so involved with all of it, it’s mind blowing to see how much this stuff actually really matters to Iowa and to college students like me, “ Jansen said.
What Jansen most appreciates is that she gets to witness the interactions that occur between senators. Since she isn’t clerking for a specific senator, she gets to see the caucus as a whole and has the opportunity to see the process from different angles.
The most challenging part of Jansen’s experience has been making time around her busy schedule.
Nevertheless, Jansen is grateful for the opportunities that she has had so early in her professional career.
When asked what motivates her to get out of bed to go intern in the mornings, she said, “Knowing how special it is to be on the senate floor, watching debate from ten feet away, and being involved with [the] caucus which only the senators and staff can do. I’m the only intern that’s in there, so even just when it gets long or boring, a lot of people don’t get to hear these sides of issues.”
This isn’t Jansen’s first professional experience with politics.
“In high school, I was the yearbook editor in chief and also did a lot of photography for our news team,” Jansen said. “So during the Iowa caucuses last time, I got the chance to go out with the credentials and to go out to different democratic presidential candidates’ events. I really liked capturing what politicians were doing because they’re everywhere and they affect everyone. Taking that and then doing this has really put into place that this is something I really like doing and wanna do.”
Jansen has taken a liking to politics and her passion for photography and managed to discover a career path that aligns with both interests.
“I have always had a really strong interest in photojournalism, especially political photojournalism, so getting to do that firsthand, especially so early in college, has really helped me get a deeper understanding of communications,” Jansen said. “Politics is something that I really like and I want to keep doing stuff like this internship in the future.”
Jansen said that she is looking forward to progressing in her college career and professional experiences. She is eventually hoping to study in DC for a semester to apply her communications background and continue with photojournalism on a national level.
Jansen has shown promise and continues to do so as she exemplifies her expertise in her internship.
Martin said that Jansen’s greatest asset is that she shows up and is ready to roll with the punches. Martin compliments Jansen on her flexibility and professionalism.
“Any task that I’ve given her, she has worked on and focused on and made an effort,” Martin said.