Anisa Ashabi stands for a photo on the Speaker’s Balcony of the U.S. Capitol Building during her internship. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Dourley)

Anisa Ashabi stands for a photo on the Speaker’s Balcony of the U.S. Capitol Building during her internship. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Dourley)

Bainbridge native wraps up internship in nation’s capital

Anisa Ashabi just completed an internship with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) in Washington, D.C.

The 19-year-old student spent nine weeks working in the nation’s capital for the congressman, and her duties consisted of attending briefings, answering phones, talking to constituents, sorting mail and responding to emails.

“I was getting my hands on all aspects of the legislative office,” said Ashabi, a former Bainbridge Island resident and North Kitsap High School graduate.

The daughter of an Iranian immigrant, Ashabi is probably best known on Bainbridge for her kickboxing career as a teenager for the Bainbridge Boxing Club — she boxed from 2013 to 2017 — and advanced to the national level in competition for the World Kickboxing Association.

Ashabi is currently a junior who is studying communications at Washington State University, and runs an in-home personal training business on the island when she’s not in school.

Prior to landing the spring/summer internship, Ashabi applied to about 40 internships in total, in areas including sports, business and politics. She learned through Kilmer about a program called Handshake and decided she wanted to pursue it.

During her time in the U.S. capital, Ashabi even got to meet White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer in closed-door meetings, which she said was really unexpected.

She also sat in on Armed Services Committee hearings and Veterans Administration briefings, and attended Congressional Marine Day at Marine Corps Base Quantico and along with Capitol Hill lawmakers.

“At the beginning it was very surreal. The first two or so weeks I was by myself,” Ashabi said. “By the time the other interns got there, I was pretty comfortable.”

Being immersed in the day-to-day operations for a few months, she gained perspective for how politics really function.

“It’s a shame that so many people are not aware of how our government functions. Until you’re really there, you don’t understand the magnitude of how much picking up the phone and calling your representative has,” she said. “First of all, register to vote. People are complaining but not voting.”

But as somebody who fielded calls and concerns for two months in Kilmer’s 6th Congressional District office, she added: “I can say that Derek really cares.”

In terms of Ashabi’s future plans, she wants to pursue other internships in Washington, D.C. involving the Senate or the Pentagon.

Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Tyler can be reached at

More in News

Super students honored at WMS

Woodward Middle School has named its Students of the Month for October.… Continue reading

Spartan slugger signs to play for SMU

Bainbridge High senior Javier Ramirez signed a letter of intent Wednesday, Nov.… Continue reading

Interfaith Thanksgiving service announced

Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith will hosts the 14th annual community Thanksgiving service… Continue reading

Deets will stay deputy mayor

Councilman Joe Deets will continue to serve as Bainbridge Island’s deputy mayor.… Continue reading

Bainbridge Island’s new tree rules start soon

Islanders who want to learn more about the city of Bainbridge Island’s… Continue reading

TRAVEL ADVISORY | Friday night sailings on Bainbridge run will be late

Washington State Ferries is advising travelers on the Bainbridge Island-Seattle route that… Continue reading

Weekend weather report: Who let the fog out | The Bainbridge Blab

Bainbridge Island will be blanketed by fog this weekend, according to the… Continue reading

Food, donations collected for Helpline House

The annual Thanksgiving Food Drive has started at at Modern Collision Rebuild… Continue reading

Bainbridge blotter | Hit-and-run in Winslow

Selected reports from the Bainbridge Island Police Department blotter. MONDAY, OCT. 29… Continue reading

Most Read