Alyssa Condon is a senior and expects to graduate in May 2018.
When I came to UConn as an animal science major, I never imagined that working on Capitol Hill was even a possibility for me. It took me a long time during my career as an undergraduate to understand the importance of the ties between agriculture and policymakers, but once I learned about that connection, I knew it was something that I was interested in being a part of.
Before college, I had never worked with livestock at all. I first started working with the dairy cows on campus in the annual Dairy Show hosted by UConn Dairy Club. I fell in love with the animals and quickly became as involved as possible with the cows on campus. I now am vice president of Dairy Club and work and live at the Kellogg Dairy Center. I’ve been able to tour farms all over the northeast and even in Canada, and it was through these experiences that I found a passion for agriculture policy. I was amazed at how each farm ran differently but each was so affected by agriculture policy. It also astounded me that most of those policies were created by people in power who had never even stepped foot on a farm. I quickly became fascinated by the idea of bridging the gap between farmers and policymakers.
In the fall of 2016, I received an email from the Department of Animal Science about a potential internship opportunity in Washington D.C. The American Society of Animal Science provides scholarships each year to agriculture students interested in working in a policy-related field. In addition to financial assistance, they provide support for the students in finding a potential office to work in. With the help of my advisor, Professor Zinn, I applied for this scholarship and was selected to receive it. The ASAS helped me get hired as an intern in Congressman Joe Courtney’s office in D.C. for the summer of 2017.