December 10, 2018
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Freshman Follows Freshman: An Internship at the State House

Community Author: Liliana Bonarrigo
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Liliana Bonarrigo | BDN
Liliana Bonarrigo | BDN

Representative Owen Casas of Rockport welcomed University of Maine freshman Liliana Bonarrigo to the Maine State House this past January as an intern for the Second Regular Session of the 128th Maine Legislature. Bonarrigo, originally from Rockland, commutes from Orono to Augusta twice a week, where she works in the State House attending morning caucus and committee meetings, as well as doing research on various issues being addressed in the House of Representatives this session.

“It’s been great to have Liliana working with me and the entire office this session. It’s encouraging to see young people engaged in state level politics, and has been a beneficial experience for both of us.” Said Rep. Casas in response to working with an intern these past few months.

Casas and Bonarrigo first met after she was named a semifinalist in the Presidential Scholars Program last March. She was a senior at Camden Hills Regional High School at the time, and expressed interest in working in government when the Representative visited the school and congratulated her. Bonarrigo says that, “This internship has been an incredible experience, and has been very helpful in making connections between what I’m learning in my classes and what’s happening here in Maine Legislature. It was a really steep learning curve at first, my first day here was pretty overwhelming because of everything that happens at once, but since then it’s been much more manageable, and so worth it.”

Bonarrigo plans to declare a major in political science next year, with potential minors in history and international affairs. Her advice for anyone looking to get involved as an intern? “Just ask! Our state legislators here in Maine are super accessible and always open to bringing young people into our government, plus both high schools and colleges are usually very willing to work with students to receive credit for these internships. Even if you aren’t going through an established program with the school, calling the department secretary and asking how to get credit is fast, easy, and super rewarding the long run. That’s how I did it, and I’m so glad I did! Please get involved!”