International affairs and political science major Michael Cabrera, 21, drives to Nevada’s state capital twice a week in between classes, work and other extracurricular activities. Cabrera is a legislative intern with Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie for the Nevada State Legislature’s 2009 session.
As an intern, Cabrera assists Leslie with research on bills, preparing presentations, obtaining signatures from other legislators for bill drafts and attending committee meetings and other functions with or in place of Leslie.
“I’ll provide a lot of reports on what happened when she’s not able to attend a function, whether it be a committee or a luncheon or whatever,” Cabrera says.
He generally attends the assembly floor sessions on Tuesdays with Leslie and provides her with notes about the bills that will come up in that day’s session. Though the assembly is about a month into the current session, Cabrera still feels awe with working with influential lawmakers in Nevada.
“I feel very privileged,” Cabrera said. “It’s really incredible to be sitting right next to a lawmaker who’s voting on increasing the room tax or trying to fix the higher education budget or whatever it is.”
Cabrera first found out about the legislative internship through the political science department. Though the internship lasts well past the end of the semester, from February until June, Cabrera was intent on interning for the legislature. After filling out a resume and an application, he began his internship with Leslie in early February. Cabrera was motivated to be a part of the legislature as a result of his own interests in politics and because of his aspirations to be a future lawmaker.
“What I’d like to do after I graduate is either go into the Peace Corps or maybe go to a graduate school for international relations,” Cabrera said. “I think that when you follow the legislature then you really get the idea of how policy is made and how you apply those things in other countries, in other parts of the world.”
Cabrera also wanted to remain visible as a student in the legislature with the looming threat of budget cuts at the University of Nevada, Reno. With the help of Leslie and other legislators, he is able to learn more about the budget cuts.
“I really wanted to be there to effect whatever change I can and to learn about the process,” Cabrera said. “I think there’s information I’m able to grab and then disseminate to other students. Fortunately the Assemblywoman is really excited about that and she’s really excited to work with me being a part of all that goes on with higher education.”