The Meek School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Mary Elizabeth Kakales and Heather Nielson experience life on the Hill

Posted on: October 28th, 2015 by ewrobins

By Marlen Polito

Neilson and Kakales 2015

Mary Elizabeth Kakales and Heather Nielson

Mary Elizabeth Kakales, Miss Ole Miss 2015, and Heather Nielson, 2015 Homecoming Queen, share more than a love for the University of Mississippi. Kakales, a public policy leadership major, and Nielson, an integrated marketing communications major, both had the opportunity to intern on Capital Hill in Washington D.C., last the summer.

“It is not every day that you get to see the people leading our nation in action,” said Nielson, a native of Oxford, Mississippi.

Nielson worked for Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker. Her internship consisted of giving tours, answering phone calls, and meeting presidential candidates. One of the many things Nielson enjoyed at the Hill was hearing the concerns of Mississippians and the issues people faced on a daily basis.

“Working there this summer really made me appreciate what all our senators do for our state,” Nielson said.

Kakales, who is from Memphis, Tennessee, worked for the U.S. House of Representatives and Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher.

“It is so fast paced. There’s so much to do, so much to see,” Kakales said. “I learned more than I ever anticipated about how our government works and about current events.”

Kakales had the opportunity to go to briefings, receptions and different events.

“It was crazy. I walked outside and saw the Supreme Court during a major court hearing,” Kakales said. “We got to experience history.”

Nielson said that several experiences helped prepare her for her internship, including watching briefings and hearings online, attending her communications law class, and learning how to write and format a press release.

“The thing that prepared me the most for my internship was being involved with Associated Student Body on campus,” Nielson said.

Nielson’s favorite part was being able to meet so many influential people.

“I rode the senate subway with the Majority Leader of the Senate, got to meet presidential candidates and make new friends that I keep in touch with everyday,” Neilson said.