Alexander Mullenix is a junior from Lafayette studying political science with a minor in human rights and history. On campus he is involved in the Purdue College Democrats and serves as the treasurer of Tippecanoe County Young Democrats as well as a board member for the Greater Lafayette ACLU. His passion for politics lead him to apply to be a legislative intern with the Indiana Democratic Caucus and he is currently an intern for Senator Jean Breaux. Alexander's story encourages students to believe in themselves and go after opportunities that scare them because it could lead to something great.
What attracted you to the company/position?
I knew other Purdue students who has interned there and I saw working at the Statehouse as an incredible personal and career opportunity. What was the hiring process like?
After applying to the job, I interviewed in Indianapolis for both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is somewhat of a competitive process, but in the end the Senate Democratic Caucus hired 9 legislative interns.
Can you tell me a little about what your overall experience was like working there and what your typical day was like? Working at the statehouse is a more professional environment than I have ever worked in before. I go to work every day in a suit and tie and a security clearance badge. On an average day, I focus on policy issues and constituent needs, while helping with whatever little task my Senator might need. Throughout the day I interact with elected officials, lobbyists, leaders of industry, and other people who are all willing to inform me about their careers and how I could follow a similar path.
Have you gotten to meet any influential politicians or sit in on important meetings?
Through my job, I have met the governor, lieutenant governor, most state senators, some state representatives, Senator Joe Donnelly, and most statewide elected officials, such as the Auditor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. I have also had the opportunity to sit in on policy meetings and meetings with lobbyists, and occasionally get to have my ideas and concerns heard. In addition, I regularly attend committee hearings and the Senate session.
Do you feel that your past experiences helped prepare you for this one? If so how?
I believe that my coursework in political science prepared me for my job, but I intern with people of many different majors. People with backgrounds as diverse as environmental biology can still contribute their unique perspectives when it comes to politics.
Has this changed your perspective on politics? If so how?
This internship has given me a new insight into how politics interacts at the state level. My perspective on lobbyists and lobbying has also changed greatly, and now I recognize that lobbyists can be very different from how the average person views them.
What did this job teach you about yourself?
Working at the statehouse has shown me the kind of change that I can provide behind the scenes using the skills that I have.
Where do you see yourself working post-graduation?
I expect to continue to work in government in the future. I have already interviewed with the Federal Reserve Board for their Community Reinvestment Act team.
How do you feel that your education at Purdue helped you while working for this company?
My classes in law and public policy have been extremely valuable in navigating the complicated aspects of government and understanding the legislation that has been proposed this session.
What career readiness tools has Purdue provided you with?
The Liberal Arts Career Center has helped improve my previously subpar resume and teach me how to promote the qualities I have that employers care about the most.
What career advice would you give to underclassmen?
It is very easy to become your own biggest enemy. Don’t avoid applying to a job just because you’re worried that you aren’t good enough or because you don’t know how it will fit in your educational path. Believe in yourself and disprove your biggest fears.