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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Emily Tifft's Supreme Court Summer Internship

Villanova English and GWS major Emily Tifft had a summer internship in the Curator's Office of the Supreme Court.  Emily's narrative about the experience follows.

Sitting in the English gateway course "Ways of Reading," I thought I understood Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. Somehow, however, all of the many lessons from Professor Megan Quigley seemed much more pressing when Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the one asking the in-depth questions about the book’s literary insights.

This summer, I had many such literary debates and discussions with Supreme Court Justices, attorneys, ambassadors, and, on occasion, tourists. How is this possible? This summer, I worked as the Visitor Programs Intern in the Curator’s Office of the Supreme Court of the United States. In this position, I gave daily public lectures in the Courtroom about the history, architecture, and function of the Supreme Court. I led private tours around the building for family, friends, and personal guests of the Justices. I compiled research for the Court’s Curator on extrajudicial activities of all former Supreme Court Justices, and created scavenger hunts for children through the dozens of Justices’ portraits in the Court’s main hall. Each day at the Supreme Court was different; whether I was consoling a swarm of angry protestors or entertaining female judges from Afghanistan, I was constantly busy, always learning and growing as a leader.

My summer experience at the Supreme Court was life-changing. It inspired in me a passion for politics and a deepened interest in gender’s relation to law and government. And while my summer consisted of conversations both literary and legal, my English major was a force that continually opened doors for me based on my reading and writing skills. I am forever grateful for the skills the major has given me—and I cannot wait to see how I will continue to use those skills in my next professional pursuit.

Emily Tifft, center, with her fellow Curatorial interns in the Supreme Court's private library