Story last updated at 3:21 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2002

Miss Sadie Polen goes to Washington
by Ben Stuart
Staff writer

photo: news
  Photo provided
Sadie Polen, a 2002 Homer High graduate, works at her desk in Washington D.C. Polen and nine other students from around Alaska were selected to intern for Senator Ted Stevens during his summer internship program.  
Many high school students view the summer after graduation as the last few carefree months before induction into the "real world." Some graduates find work to gain experience before college. Others take that last-chance vacation to a faraway destination. Sadie Polen went to Washington, D.C., and did both.

Polen, a 2002 Homer High School graduate, was selected to work in the office of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, as part of his summer internship program, which is now in its 34th year. In that time, according to Stevens' press secretary, Melanie Alvord, some 700 students from around the state have interned for the senator. This year's selected few hailed from Anchorage, Craig, Fairbanks, Palmer, Petersburg and Homer, and stayed on the campus of George Washington University as they performed their duties.

Polen described these duties in a phone interview last week as "taking messages, working on appropriations, basically anything that needs to get done." Alvord added that while working, "Interns do a lot of copying, filing and running around the office."

But interning for Stevens is not all work. A large part of the appeal for the interns is a chance to tour local museums and historical sites such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol building.

She and the other interns also had a chance to meet other members of Congress, including Alaska Rep. Don Young.

Polen, daughter of Gary and Susan Polen, has lived in the Homer area for eight years and noted a few substantial differences between the cities.

"There is a lot more to do (in D.C.)," and the weather is "hot, humid and they have thunderstorms."

Susan Polen said that her daughter "continues to surprise (her)." And that "Sadie was incredibly excited when she got (selected)." She said Polen hadn't shown a huge interest in politics before the trip but said that "she has always been brave and a big traveler."

In high school, Polen was a member of the National Honor Society and the volleyball team. She was involved in the student council and Natural Helpers, coached for a junior high school volleyball team, and was a member of the graduation committee.

Polen is currently attending a University of California-Davis orientation program. And while she is "completely undecided" about choosing a major, she did leave the door open to future political plans. "I like it," she said of her stint in the capital. "I get to do things and also get to see (Capitol) Hill."

Polen's mother noted that following her daughter's travels has been exciting in itself.

"(Now) I just sit back and wonder what she'll do next."

Each year, dozens of Alaska students are chosen to participate in Sen. Stevens' internship program, which is divided into two month-long sessions. Internship applications are available at all Alaska high schools, Sen. Stevens' Alaska offices, and on his Web site at