Alton native Daniel Draper Lynch got a very rare opportunity this past summer — he spent it in Washington, D.C., serving as the press intern for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
He was able to work closely with Durbin’s press team, observe news interviews, and learn the day-to-day workings of the Senate office.
Lynch came to Alton in fifth grade from Minneapolis and spent much of his life in the Alton area.
“I always loved spending time at my grandparents’ farm near Fosterburg,” he says.
He attends Harvard University and plans to attend law school afterward. His career hopes are public service, law or journalism. Lynch was able to unite the three paths in his press internship.
As press intern, Lynch’s primary responsibility was to compile daily news clips with mentions of Durbin. Starting with Google news searches, Lynch says he checked national and state publications daily, “from the New York Times and Politico to the Bloomington Pantagraph and the Quincy Herald-Whig.”
Lynch also checked television stations and added those networks to the list. He organized the lists and clips and emailed them to Durbin’s staff at the offices in D.C. and Illinois. When Senate was in session, Lynch delivered a hard copy to Durbin.
Lynch also worked closely with Durbin’s press team. This included attendance at morning meetings.
“We reviewed Senator Durbin’s schedule and discussed how to publicize and highlight key issues, meetings and events,” Lynch says.
Lynch also was able to attend Durbin’s satellite time at the Senate recording studio.
“It gave me a behind-the-scenes look at how he and the recording studio staff prepare for and conduct interviews,” he says. “I enjoyed going.”
There were other press-related duties associated with his internship — Lynch helped to draft press releases announcing grants and profiling his fellow interns.
A summer in Washington, D.C. — besides holding many professional opportunities and experiences for Lynch — offered great sight-seeing and learning opportunities.
“I really relished the opportunity to explore the Capitol building, including some areas tourists don’t usually visit,” Lynch says.
He also says he enjoyed visiting the city’s many monuments and museums. Lynch particularly enjoyed watching the Capitol Fourth fireworks display from the steps of the Capitol building.
“It was one of the most exciting experiences of the summer,” he says.
The experience, and Senator Durbin, taught Lynch valuable lessons.
“I learned a lot about how a Senate office functions on a day-to-day basis,” Lynch says.
This included learning how the staff interacts with the public as well as one another and Durbin.
“Perhaps most of all, I gained a greater appreciation for how hard Senator Durbin works,” Lynch says.
Lynch spoke of Durbin’s knowledge about major and minor issues on national and local levels. He also says Durbin was active in helping his staff interns learn despite his busy schedule.
“He took time to meet with us and answer all of our questions about current issues and public service in general,” Lynch says.
During his internship, Lynch gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for public service that greatly enhanced his hopes for his own career.
“My experience deepened my interest in public service,” Lynch says. “I hope to return to Capitol Hill, either after graduating from college or sometime further down the road.”