Washington, D.C., is a long way from home for this 25-year-old Port Clinton native who is readying to intern for the U.S. Senate, one week after finishing his internship at the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bright city lights are a tad brighter than those on East Perry Street. Larger-than-life personalities who’ve likely never heard of Winke’s hometown pass by him regularly.
“The Dalai Lama was on the Hill a couple months ago” he said. “Seth Rogen and John Kerry also”
It’s part of the daily routine for Winke, whose job is anything but routine. He will shortly begin his Senatorial internship, which will run through July.
He’s not quite sure what his duties will be, but he imagines the experience will be similar to his time spent at the House of Representatives.
“It was a lot of administrative duties” he said.
He is hoping to focus a bit more on policy work with the Senate internship, he said.
Winke admitted the job might not be exciting to everyone. It entails some of the same nuisances people endure in more traditional 9-to-5 jobs.
“I answer phones and help the (officials) with scheduling” he said. “As you can imagine, they’re very busy people.
“I also attend events,” he said of his favorite duty.
Many of the events are hosted by household names, in efforts to raise awareness about issues at hand. Winke gets to mingle just like his bosses, hoping some of the nation’s most powerful figures will remember his face.
Networking is how he got this gig of a lifetime, and it’s likely how he’ll advance through this ultracompetitive field.
He said he’d ultimately like to work for the U.S. State Department, a difficult landing spot amid budget sequestration.
But Winke clearly has an edge up on his competition through the internship. If nothing else, he hopes it provides him with a chance to make a difference in society.
“I like the atmosphere (of government work) that you can make an impact” he said. “And (the internships) are connecting me to people who make a difference”
The experience is just his latest achievement in an alreadyremarkable academic voyage.
Winke recently received his master’s degree in international relations from King’s College in London, England, after receiving his undergrad at Bowling Green State University.
All of it has shaped a young man fit for public service, Sen. Sherrod Brown said when he met with Winke recently.
“It was an honor to meet with Mr. Winke,” Brown said. “Bright young leaders like Gordon exemplify the intelligence and drive fostered at Ohio colleges and universities”