The phones never seem to stop ringing in Senator Pat Toomey’s Washington, D.C. office.

Natalie Dowzicky, ’18, a Jepson School senior and intern in the senator’s office, estimated that in one week she alone answered 500 phone calls.

While taking phone calls from constituents is only a small part of the day for Dowzicky, who also works on constituent correspondence and attends hearings and lectures, it is particularly meaningful to the Pennsylvania native.

 “It is kind of inspiring that so many citizens are using their voice and being active in our government,” says Dowzicky. “It makes our job more difficult, but we are lucky to have full voicemails or mailboxes because that means that as a government, we are accountable to our constituents, which is the very backbone of our democracy.”

The leadership studies major with minors in Latin American and Iberian studies and law and the liberal arts is getting an up close look at life in public service through her Jepson Internship. Every morning, Dowzicky walks past the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court of the United States on her way to the Russell Senate Office Building. Dowzicky is one of seven interns in the senator’s office who must work together to address constituent correspondence.

“Since we are all in different parts of our educational experience, some of us are feeling more pressure than others, which makes for some very interesting group dynamics. Through my leadership education, I learned the appropriate times when to follow and when to lead among my peers,” says Dowzicky.

Dowzicky also notes that working in the nation’s Capitol has helped to shape her understanding of leadership. As an intern, she has attended judiciary hearings and lectures by several senators. Dowzicky recalls one such lecture in which she asked Maryland Senator Ben Cardin to “define leadership through the critical lens of foreign democracy.”

“He said, ‘I would define leadership as using your power and talent to be courageous enough to take risks for what is right and for what is morally justifiable. Finally being a foreign diplomatic political leader means that you are willing to lose constituents by voting for or endorsing something that you believe is right for humankind as a whole.’ I was super excited by his answer and I thanked him greatly for his service,” says Dowzicky.

Dowzicky, who aims to attend law school and study judiciary policy, will draw on the lessons learned and experience she’s gained through her internship as she plans to pursue a career in public service.