By Janee Law
It’s not every day a college student gets the opportunity to walk among major Capitol Hill politicians. However, Northport High School graduate Cory Ryan did just that, working as an intern for the office of Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI 2nd District) for five months in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve never even stepped foot in the capitol building before the internship and so that was something that was unique for me,” Ryan, 24, said. “As a student currently wrestling with what I want to do after I graduate, Congress is a unique institution in that we’re able to address a wide array of policy issues.”
Ryan is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international security and economic policy at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. After graduation in May 2017, he said he wants to pursue a career in education or politics, but he’s also interested in human rights and foreign policy.
“There’s not going to be a lot of places where I could have direct face time with experts in all of those areas or to kind of handle that breadth of research and so that was what ultimately pulled me in this direction,” said Ryan, a 2009 Northport grad.
With four other interns in the program, Ryan participated in a variety of tasks, including attending congressional briefings, drafting constituent correspondence and supporting staff members on various projects.
A particularly exciting moment for Ryan, he said, was when he started the internship this past January during the time of the FBI-Apple dispute, a national debate on privacy and encryption.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see what that looked like as a member of a legislative office,” said Ryan, who attended a briefing where FBI Director James Comey spoke to the Judiciary Committee. “It was a really powerful experience, and something I would not have ever gotten the opportunity to do without this internship.”
Ryan is also a graduate of Wake Forest University, earning a bachelor’s degree in religious studies in 2013. He is currently a graduate senator for Maryland University Senate, and a resident director for UMD’s Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
In a statement, Congressman Langevin called Ryan “an incredibly focused, driven young man.”
Langevin added, “I was very impressed by the work he did in my office. He was an asset to our team. It’s always exciting for me to see young people who are interested in public policy and engaged in the political process, and Cory is no exception. He is committed to his studies and to the real-world application of political theory. I have no doubt that he will make his mark on Capitol Hill or wherever he chooses to share his talents.”
Ryan’s last day was slated to be today. He interned two days each week, satisfying a 300-hour requirement.
“The schedule is incredibly busy and there’s so much to do on a day-to-day basis that I was excited to be able to represent the office and hear about issues and then do my own research,” Ryan said. “To contribute in some way to the policy making process, even if a really small level, that’s been the most gratifying aspect of the internship for me.”