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History undergrad wins prestigious summer internship in Washington, D.C.

Kristy Dohnel is one of two women in the nation to be awarded the Dorothy Andrews Kabis Memorial Internship


Photo of Kristy Dohnel

Kristy Dohnel

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April 02, 2019

Kristy Dohnel grew up in a small town of around 4,000 people; she lived in a mobile home on a 100-acre ranch. From little Bishop, California, she moved to Tempe to attend Arizona State University. Upon arriving, Dohnel didn’t know a single person on campus, but that didn’t stop her from getting involved.

She is now two and a half years into her undergraduate degree and has pushed herself to participate in the political community both on campus and off. Before attending ASU she had no prior experience in politics, just an interest in the topic.

Dohnel landed an internship on a U.S. senate campaign, where she rose to the role of campaign scheduler and became a precinct committeeman in her legislative district. At the same time, she joined her local Republican women’s club and the political history and leadership club at ASU.

She is now working for Congressman David Schweikert as a community outreach liaison on top of pursuing her bachelor’s degree in U.S. history and a certificate in political history and leadership from the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies as well as a minor in political science from the School of Politics and Global Studies.

Her hard work in the political community is paying off: She was announced as one of two women to win the Dorothy Andrews Kabis Memorial Internship. The prestigious internship will give her the opportunity to work at the National Federation of Republican Women headquarters for the summer to gain valuable skills in political organization.

Dohnel sat down with us and answered a few questions about her upcoming internship.

Question: What was the process like applying for the internship?

Answer: The process consisted of filling out an application, getting three letters of recommendation explaining why I should receive the internship, (and writing) a short paper on my experience with politics in my state. Once I completed the application, I had to send it to the president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women, where she then reviewed my application and sent it to the National Federation of Republican Women.

Q: What made you want to apply?

A: I applied because I have always wanted to work in D.C., especially in politics. The internship is vastly unique, covers my living cost, travel expenses and gives weekly stipends. This type of opportunity in D.C. is almost unheard of.

Q: How did you feel receiving your acceptance?

A: I was humbled beyond belief; I honestly did not believe I would be honored with the internship. 

Q: What are you looking forward to most in the internship? What skills do you hope to gain from it?

A: I am looking forward to being in D.C. — I have never even been to the East Coast. Learning how to deal with the hustle and bustle of D.C. is a skill that not many people have, and I am especially excited to hone many new skills. 

Q: Do you have any plans once you finish the internship?

A: Once my internship is over, I will be returning back to my current job working for Congressman David Schweikert as the community outreach liaison. 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to highlight who supported you in this process?

A: Yes, of course, there are too many people to name that have supported me throughout the process. Nancy Cottle, I would like to thank first because she is the one who sent me the information on the internship then helped me fill out the application, and she wrote me an amazing letter of recommendation. After that I would especially like to thank, Dr. Kelli Ward and Yvonne Cahill for also writing me letters of recommendation. If it was not for them there is no way I would have been chosen for the internship. 

Dohnel will live in Washington, D.C., for six weeks this summer and will be attending ASU next semester. She is on track to graduate in spring 2020.

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