Senior spends last semester interning in D.C., conducting research
There’s not much Aamer Uddin, a management and leadership and political science double major, hasn’t done during his time at KU.
He’s served as a teaching assistant and Business Student Ambassador; been a member of the Dole Institute of Politics advisory board and competed with KU’s professional selling team; and studied abroad at the London School of Economics. Now, the senior is tackling one last set of challenges before graduating in May: interning in Washington, D.C., while finishing up his degrees and working as a research assistant.
From Capitol Federal Hall to Capitol Hill
Uddin works for the House Small Business Committee through an internship with its chairperson, United States Representative Nydia Velázquez, who represents New York’s 7th Congressional District. In the role, Uddin is responsible for everything from writing questions for committee hearings and memos about specific topics to building out materials to help committee members learn more about what programs offer.
Although he’s living in D.C., Uddin is navigating a hybrid workplace. Capitol Hill is expected to reopen in March; in the meantime, Uddin’s reached out to people to learn from their experiences, from speaking with leadership of the Small Business Administration to liaising with internal lobbyists over policy proposals.
“I am still an intern, so I’m tasked with several project-based assignments,” Uddin said. “Knowing how to add value in different environments is critical. On the Hill, you’re expected to meet people where they are, which means relating and speaking with folks instead of at them. Since this is the first step on my career within public service, I learned that asking questions is incredibly valuable and helpful.”
He learned the importance of asking questions from classes with School of Business assistant teaching professor Ravi Shanmugam and former lecturer and Center for Entrepreneurship director Wally Meyer. Uddin’s business school experience also helped him learn how to communicate clearly and concisely in the professional world and provided an understanding of business fundamentals he utilizes in his internship.
“The ability to converse with varying audiences is fundamental to all business and professional relationships,” he said. “Having the opportunities that the b-school provided me and the foundation there were really integral to me understanding how business environments operate.”
Business meets politics
After graduation, Uddin plans to attend law school and practice constitutional or civil rights law, but he decided to take an interdisciplinary approach to his college education, studying in both the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Business.
“Political science really helped me understand the abstract, whereas management helped me understand kind of the atomized functions of individual firms,” he explained. “Pairing them together is really what helped me understand decision calculus, strategy, and just how people interact in different environments.”
Uddin got an international perspective on both subjects when he studied abroad last summer at the London School of Economics and Political Science, an experience that allowed him to connect with other students from around the world in a rigorous academic setting while exploring the city.
He’s also taken advantage of undergraduate research opportunities within the School of Business, working as Midam Kim’s research assistant. The pair are currently conducting research to assess whether there’s a relationship between communications patterns of S&P 500 CEOs and market volatility.
“We’re measuring tone and variance; we’re doing regressions on who and when people talk in relationship with the stock market and seeing if there’s a calculable way we can tell whether somebody’s delivery and cadence is corresponding with their ability to create a movement in the stock,” Uddin said. He is currently analyzing data and shares findings with Kim during biweekly meetings.
In addition to the research project, Uddin also is balancing his internship with POLS 494, a seminar for KU students interning in D.C. featuring guest speakers. He noted the seminar allows Jayhawks to ask important questions and find their niche in public service — something Uddin sees as a lifelong calling.
“This internship is going to structure and inform, ‘How do I work with the community? How do I organize properly? How do I meet people at the margins?’” he said. “Interning on the Hill will provide me the foundation for leading the next wave of progressive, pragmatic politics.”