By Lauren Irwin (Jour’22)
For Max Gannett (InfoSci’22), doing research to help create legislation makes him feel like a kid in a candy shop.
Before starting his first year as an information science master’s student at CU Boulder, Gannett spent the summer in Washington, D.C. There, he worked as an intern with Rep. Joe Neguse (PolSci, Econ’05; Law’09) and Sen. John Hickenlooper, who represent Colorado on the federal stage.
Every day, Gannett worked across the street from the U.S. Capitol. He assisted in research that affected national policy. Just weeks after graduating, Gannett felt like he was putting his bachelor’s degree in information science to good use.
“My long-term career goal is one where I can make a more healthy democracy,” said Gannett, who is part of the CMCI Information Science Bachelor’s-Accelerated Master’s Program. “Any way I can make policy, government and the information ecosystem better, that is where my heart and future lie.”
As an intern, Gannett explored downtown Washington and joined events alongside notable figures, like Sen. Mitt Romney, Sen. Joe Manchin and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. He was able to sit in on U.S. House and Senate committee hearings on public lands, assault weapons bans and other topics.
Much of Gannett’s daily work centered around organizing constituent comments, working on policy-related memos and presentations, and doing research on topics like disinformation, voting and judicial issues.
One favorite aspect of the internship: helping to outline goals and legislation related to science, technology, cybersecurity and privacy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, he said.
Gannett credits his undergraduate courses and activities with preparing him to conduct research and think critically, both vital skills for the internship.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree, Gannett earned a political science minor and quickly discovered a passion for governmental affairs during his first internship with Neguse in 2020.
He took on leadership positions, becoming president of the CMCI Student Government and helping to lead the CU Student Ambassador Program through the COVID-19 crisis.
And throughout his time as a CU undergraduate student, Gannett found opportunities to connect his coursework to the real world. After working as a data science intern for CMCI, Gannett became a research assistant with information science Professor Leysia Palen and studied the impact of disinformation in our current landscape. In 2020, he created data visualizations as a data intern for the House Majority Project.
“One of the most amazing things is applying my knowledge of technology and human interaction from the classroom to legislation and policy,” he said.
For Gannett, his internship was an inspiration. It allowed him to see all sides of Congress, and thus, to better understand how to institute change and build a more resilient democracy, he said.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be at the heart of the nation’s capitol where history has been made, and it’s being made while I’m here,” Gannett said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate . . . and work in two offices that uphold what it means to be leaders for the state of Colorado.”