Senior Jacob deCastro uses Journalism Skills on Capitol Hill

Senior Jacob deCastro is from Indianapolis and is majoring in journalism with a concentration in public relations. Not only that, but he is also pursuing certificates in Liberal Arts and Management (LAMP) as well as Political and Civil Engagement. DeCastro isn’t just a full-time student, he’s involved in numerous organizations and associations on IU’s campus, such as the Indiana Daily Student (IDS), where he serves as an editor-in-chief. DeCastro is also involved in Reporters without Borders, the Society for News Design, and the Association of LGBTQ Journalists. Outside of IU, deCastro has also held internship positions at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, NASA Glenn Research Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Goldman Sachs.

Most recently, deCastro was a Press Intern for the House of Representatives Committee on Rules. Here, his day-to-day tasks consisted of compiling press clips, conducting research on legislation and members, preparing hearing room for meetings, and conducting administrative tasks as needed. Some special projects that deCastro took part in included working on creating an amendment handbook, designing graphics for social media, and producing videos and hearing recaps.

How did this experience impact you personally and professionally?
“Personally, I learned a lot about what I want to do after graduation. It was really cool to live in Washington, D.C., and be surrounded by so much history. This was the biggest city I’ve lived in for this amount of time, so I got a chance to see what life after graduation could look like. Professionally, I was able to grow my network, meet new people, and make connections on Capitol Hill. I was also able to get several clips and work samples for my portfolio.”

What were some of the most rewarding parts of this experience?
“The most rewarding part of the experience was creating a motion graphic for the committee that got shared widely by the Democratic caucus. This included Leader Hoyer and Speaker Pelosi, as well as many other members across the spectrum. It was also cool to write a speech for Chairman McGovern that was read by him to open a committee hearing.”

What did you learn about the industry?
“I learned that Capitol Hill is fast-paced and promotions and jobs are based on having a large network. I also learned that people here are very committed to their jobs and are willing to do a lot to better the country.”

What do you wish you would have known before you started this position? Or what would you tell others before they start an internship?
“Before I started this internship, I wish I could have prepared more before the coronavirus forced everything to go remotely. With this in mind, it is super important to treat each day like it will be the last day. Get coffee with as many people as possible. Make sure you leave a good impression each day.”

What did receiving this Internship Scholarship mean to you?
“Receiving this internship scholarship meant that people believed in me and my ability to make change in the world. Yes, that sounds sappy, but it is true. This scholarship helped make my experience possible. It opened doors for me going forward and allowed me to expand my professional network in ways I didn’t previously see possible. One thing that IU and the College of Arts and Sciences do really well at is providing financial support for its students and I am lucky to have been a recipient of this generosity.”

 

By Geoffrey Heck
Geoffrey Heck Peer Coach Geoffrey Heck