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From the Mountain to the Hill

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

Katie Corr on Capitol Hill

Alumni Spotlight on Katherine Corr, C’19

Proudly, the Mount has a mission to form “ethical leaders” who “see and seek to resolve the problems facing humanity.” The university’s core curriculum is well known as a platform to explore ways to make a difference in the world. Mount alumna and political science major, Katherine Corr, C’19, embodies this mission. She manifests her desire to create positive change through her role as a legislative correspondent for the U.S Senate.

katie-corr-1-in-text.jpgLike many Mounties, Corr was drawn to the small-campus and close-knit community that the Mount offers. Some of her fondest memories include study sessions spent with friends in the library, interrupted by trips to the Café. She is most grateful for the relationships that she built at the Mount, recalling, “I made many friends inside and outside the classroom that I still carry with me today.”  She was also involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success and made phonathon calls for the Office of Alumni Engagement.

After taking Introduction to Political Science and The Supreme Court and Constitutional Law in her sophomore year, she became more interested in the way government works. “I remember taking those courses and being intrigued by the discussions we were having each class,” Corr explained. Her sophomore year coincided with the 2016 presidential election, further stimulating her interest in politics and inspiring her to become a political science major. “As I began to take more classes in the major,” she said, “I noticed how policy can impact people and communities that I am passionate about helping.”  By the end of that year, she began to envision a future in politics. “One course that had a huge impact on me was Social Inequality,” she remembered. “I began to see where I could make a difference for people and how policy affects certain groups.”

katie-corr-3-1-in-text.jpgCorr left a lasting impression on many of her political science professors. Associate Professor of Political Science Maureen Oakley, Ph.D., fondly remembers Corr’s passionate approach to her studies. “I had Katie in many classes in the political science major,” Oakley stated. “She was always engaged, especially around issues surrounding racial equality and gender.”  After Corr gained a concrete sense of the way the government functioned, her professors encouraged her to apply for relevant internships to learn more about the sector and build connections. The Mount’s Career Center helped her land an internship supporting a congressional campaign in 2018.

This first internship was both rewarding and educational for the political science major. During the campaign, Corr worked in a metropolitan field office and learned about the process of political elections from the ground up. She assisted with cold-calling, polling and door-knocking in an effort to gain votes. The House member she worked for was reelected and continues to represent a Maryland district. Corr was thrilled to be part of a team that won a congressional election. She reflected, “It was especially rewarding knowing that all of our effort and work throughout the campaign played a role in this win.” She was honored to be invited to celebrate the victory following the swearing-in ceremony in Washington, D.C. There, she had the chance to meet additional staff members, and she remained in contact with them after the internship ended.

Upon her graduation in 2019, Corr was grateful for the connections she made during her first internship. The staff she met following the swearing-in ceremony helped her secure a full-time position as an intern for the representative’s district office in Gaithersburg, Maryland. While the D.C. office typically handled legislative work, Corr’s office focused on casework and constituent-based services. “If someone needed help with a federal agency, they would contact their representative,” Corr explained. “Staff would then make an inquiry on their behalf if they needed help with things like passport requests or veterans’ benefits.”  Her internship with the House solidified her desire to work in Washington.  She was inspired by the helpful political work that happens beneath the national headlines, stating how rewarding it was to “hear from constituents and see how legislation can make a difference at the community level.”

With two impressive internships gracing her resume, Corr landed her first full-time job in D.C. as a staff assistant for the U.S. Senate in August 2019. In 2020 she became a speechwriter and press aide. In that role, Corr was primarily responsible for drafting memos and talking points to prepare the senator to discuss issues facing their communities or upcoming legislation at events around the district with constituent and outreach groups. As press aide, she assisted the press team by drafting press releases announcing new federal funding for schools, community health centers and other initiatives across the state of Maryland. In October 2021, she began a new role as a legislative correspondent, covering a wide array of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, such as infrastructure, transportation, water and climate. She meets with advocacy groups to discuss their legislative priorities, including implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and the Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021. She is also responsible for drafting constituent correspondence and conducting research about upcoming legislation to further support local projects and communities across Maryland and the country.

As a government professional, Corr is grateful for the foundation she built in the Mount’s political science department. She remembers many hours spent in the library reading textbooks and memorizing facts about policy and political parties. Corr reflected, “One thing I can say is that my classes at the Mount improved my research skills, my writing, and my attention to detail, which are all important for my job.”  Her current success in Washington is no surprise to the political science professors who worked closely with her at the Mount. “Katie was a dynamic and engaged student, and her interest in public policy was always obvious to me; I am grateful to have been a part of her Mount experience!” recalled Professor of Political Science Michael Towle, Ph.D.

As Corr looks to the future, she is excited about making a difference on Capitol Hill. Already, this loyal Mountie leads a life of significance by advocating for vulnerable people and communities.

The views expressed in this article are those of Katherine Corr and not those of the U.S Senate or House of Representatives.

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts