Hello everyone, my name is Colin Kolodziej. I am a junior pursuing a double major in Political Science & French Studies. Back in Chambana, I am active in local progressive politics. On campus, I am the newly-elected Political Director of Illini Democrats and Treasurer of Common Cause at UIUC, while off campus, I worked on two local democratic campaigns: Duco for County Recorder as an intern and Champaign County CARE as an intern coordinator. I became involved in politics because of my teenage hero President Obama. As a child of a single mom, I saw my story within his. I grew up believing if this skinny single mom’s kid with a funny name can rise above his circumstances to change the world for the better, so can I. In pursuit of that belief, I applied to the Illinois in Washington Program to pursue my dream of working as a field organizer, lawyer, or staffer in government and politics.
Thus far, I could not be happier with my decision to come to work and study in DC over the summer. I work as a full time Field Organizing Intern for Let America Vote, a new progressive grassroots organization dedicated to electing candidates at the local, state, and national level who will fight voter suppression of old, poor, and minority communities. As a Field Organizing Intern, I will work to elect progressives to the Virginia Governorship and General Assembly who will expand voting rights for Virginians.
I have only been here for a week and have learned so much about how to run a state-wide field operation. The internship includes a 9 week in-depth training program in every aspect of a field operation. During the training, I will learn how to successfully message to different voters, use data to run campaigns, recruit volunteers to canvas and phone-bank, conduct opposition research, and more from expert, seasoned veterans of Democratic field operations. Currently, I work in an office in downtown DC, but will be commuting to work with my boss in a field office in Manasses, Virginia once the field operation is underway. I love working at my office in DC thus far. My supervisors and fellow interns are professional, helpful, passionate, and knowledgeable about their work. It is a great collaborative atmosphere and the place to be. I work a block and a half from the White House, and after work one day, attended the protests over President’s Trump decision to pull out from the Paris Climate Accords. As someone pursuing a career in politics, working in DC has been a thrilling experience.
As someone who loves making new friends, eating new foods, and experiencing new places, and having fun, DC has been thrilling as well. Our dorm is located in Woodley Park in easy walking and metro distance from restaurants, monuments, museums, parks, and attractions. Yesterday, I had the best burger of my life with some friends at Bare Burger near Dupont Circle, and then later went out to see some sights at union station. Today, I went running in Rock Creek Park, a beautiful National Park only two blocks away from our housing, and then stopped by the National Zoo, two blocks from our dorm, to snap a selfie with a zebra and Bae-Bae the panda, my spirit animal. There is always something fun to do outside of class and work here. Life is good. Come to DC and experience it yourself!