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McMaster grad heading to Ottawa as parliamentary intern

Christina Vietinghoff is one of only 10 university graduates who have been selected to work as non-partisan interns in the House of Commons in 2015-16

Aug 19, 2015

Established in 1969, the Parliamentary Internship Programme is considered one of the premiere post-graduate work-study experiences in Canada. Managed by the Canadian Political Science Association, the non-partisan program requires interns to work on both sides of the House. After two weeks of training, the interns interview and choose the two MPs they want to work for – first on one side of the House in the fall, and then on the other from January to June.

“I’m really excited about all the learning opportunities,” says Vietinghoff, who has just graduated from McMaster in the Arts & Science Combined Honours Program.

Interns support their MPs in many ways – for example, writing speeches, preparing briefing notes and organizing town halls. The interns also attend seminars, visit constituencies and participate in study tours of other legislatures. At the end of their 10 months, they write an original research paper on an aspect of Parliament or Canadian politics.

(Interns are not permitted to work for an MP during a federal election, so they will be placed during that time with one of the program’s sponsors.)

Sounds exhausting, but Vietinghoff is no stranger to multi-tasking. While an undergraduate at McMaster, her many activities included writing for the Silhouette, serving on McMaster’s Academic Women’s Success and Mentorship (AWSM) committee and volunteering for the YWCA’s Young Women’s Council.

She studied in McMaster’s renowned Arts & Science Program, with a combined honours in Political Science. "I'm thankful for the passionate professors and the breadth of courses in the Department of Political Science,” says Vietinghoff, who describes the department as “a hidden gem.”

She’s also the grateful recipient of a number of donor-funded awards, including the Jennifer Headley Scholarship Graduand Award, the Dr. Thomas Hobley Prize, the Margaret Cudmore Scholarship in Political Science and the Ryan B. Clarke Political Science Scholarship.

“Funding from these awards has allowed me to devote time to the many things I enjoy,” says Vietinghoff. “I’m really thankful for all the financial support I’ve received.”

Now writing her Graduate Record Examinations (GREs), she plans to pursue graduate studies in the U.S. after the internship.

Her secret to success? “I only do things that I enjoy!”

McMaster’s Arts & Science Program: http://artsci.mcmaster.ca/program/

McMaster’s Department of Political Science: http://politicalscience.mcmaster.ca/