Out West student blog

The Labyrinth of Our Legislatures

Claudia spending her free time social distancing at a nature preserve. (Credit: Monika Kania)

By Claudia Kania '22
Hometown: Burbank, IL
Major: Political Science
Elections Policy Intern, The National Conference of State Legislatures

Why did you want to do this internship?

I always wanted to combine data analytics with political science, because I believe that numbers and figures can help tell stories that we often ignore. I believe in The National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) mission of comprehensive research into legislative strengthening and its additions to the discourse surrounding our state political systems. 

How does your role support the host organization’s mission?

My role as an intern is to help NCSL with various data-oriented tasks, such as tracking historical ballot measures through web databases, congressional demographics, and laws related to senatorial vacancies. These tasks support NCSL's mission as an organization that promotes comprehensive and transparent dialogue related to our political system. Furthermore, my tasks aid NCSL in facilitating interstate cooperation between legislative systems and making more transparent the relationships between state and federal governments. 

Describe one project you will be working on this summer.

This summer, I will be working on a congressional and state legislative demographics project. Currently, I have coded data regarding our lawmakers' characteristics, such as party affiliation, occupation, ethnicity and race, and gender. I can't wait to turn these numbers and equations into interactive data visualizations that will help explain the makeup of our political system. 

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

In the future, I hope to attend a master's program related to political science and/or foreign policy. I believe that working on data projects related to congressional demographics and state legislatures will be great preparation for my future educational goals. Careerwise, I intend to pursue jobs in the fields of public and foreign service, research, and policy consulting. Working on intricate data-oriented projects in these fields will be less intimidating now that I’m diving into similar tasks at the NCSL!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I love to try foods from different cultures. In the time of Covid-19, travelling the world through my tastebuds has become a staple activity. Some favourite cuisines include Palestinian, Moroccan, and Turkish! 


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