November 3, 2023

CHaSS Student Spotlight: Beau Jenson

USU student Beau Jenson pictured in a pink sweatshirt in front of the Utah State CapitolUSU student Beau Jenson interned at the Utah State Capitol in summer 2023. 

Utah State University student Beau Jenson is a double major in history and political science who interned at the Utah State Capitol this summer. This was the second political internship for Jenson who spent the fall 2022 semester in Washington, D.C. interning for Representative Blake Moore (R-UT). Jenson is currently serving as a CHaSS Peer Ambassador.

I've always been interested in the social sciences. It carried me through high school, and I'm very interested in civic engagement, public policy, and trying to make an impact. Originally, I wanted to go into education, but then I realized that I’m not that [fond of] high schoolers, so I turned towards being part of a larger community, and that's what led me into this.

I got to work for Senate Minority Whip Kathleen Riebe (D-Salt Lake), and it was probably the most amazing experience of my life. I basically got to follow her around the Capitol and help with everyday tasks. I went to every committee meeting. I was on the [Utah] Senate floor. I coordinated with lawmakers to set up meetings and experience new areas that I had no idea were impacting public policy. I got to witness this all firsthand and help be part of the process.

I had interned in [Washington] and had spent the summer working towards being able to pay for that … but I wanted to do another internship. I was presented with the opportunity to work at the state legislature, and I was super excited but wasn't sure I was going to have the money, because internships don't pay that well. I found a place where I could live with family, but it was not that close to the state capitol. I applied for the experiential learning fund and got $500 towards gas money to [cover driving] back and forth from Brigham City to Salt Lake every day. I don't know if I could have done it without it.

I've always been interested in politics, but by interning both in D.C. and at the state legislature, I learned that politics is open to everyone, and it's definitely open to me. Largely, I want to work on campaigns or in congressional offices, because I like to be where it's happening. I love to see the wheels turning and be a part of creating the government and the policy that impacts everyday people. Specifically, my goal is to just be a voice for progressive politics and to help push forward policies that will impact and support minority [populations] and the disadvantaged.

Before I did my internships, I was nervous about [pursuing] political science as a career. But doing them really pushed me forward and gave me clear direction as to what I wanted to do. It provided the context for what careers look like in political science. It also gave me a really good experience, and the knowledge and background to be able to add those skills to my resume and build toward a [life-long] career.

For more information and to apply for the CHaSS Experiential Learning Fund, visit: https://chass.usu.edu/experiential-learning/apply

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