- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

Capitol Hill interns say their attitudes toward their jobs haven't been changed by the death of former intern Chandra Levy or the events of September 11, according to a survey released yesterday by the Independent Women's Forum (IWF).
And despite media attention to Monica Lewinsky's affair with President Clinton and Miss Levy's affair with Rep. Gary A. Condit, Washington congressional interns are not promiscuous, the survey found. They are more focused on their careers than on the local social scene. Only 2 percent reported that they had experienced or personally known of other interns having affairs with elected officials.
Twenty-six percent of the 207 interns surveyed said they had seen older congressional staff members flirting with interns, and 38 percent said they had seen interns flirting with staffers close to their own age. Sixty-two percent said they had seen interns flirting with each other.
"Hookups are more observed than experienced," said Colleen McCulloch, director of research at the Polling Co., the Washington-based political and market research firm that conducted the survey this month. "It's easier to talk about stuff."
The survey, which polled young men and women, also found that college students working in Washington were confident about their personal well-being, despite Miss Levy's death and the threat of terrorism.
"We wanted to see the effect, if any, that [September 11] had on the students' decisions to intern on the Hill," said Margaret Carroll, a spokeswoman for IWF, a nonpartisan think tank.
A February poll conducted for IWF by the Tarrance Group found college students spent more of their time praying, studying and volunteering since September 11.
Ninety-four percent of interns in the July poll saw Miss Levy's disappearance as an isolated incident and not a cause for worry. Also, 68 percent said September 11 did not affect their decision to intern in Washington, and 18 percent said the attacks strengthened their desire to come to Washington.
Miss Lewinsky's relationship with Mr. Clinton, which led to his impeachment in 1998, followed a series of scandals in the 1980s that culminated in the 1983 censures of Rep. Daniel B. Crane, Illinois Republican, for having sex with a 17-year-old female page, and Rep. Gerry E. Studds, Massachusetts Democrat, who had sex with a 17-year-old male page.
The survey also gauged interns' attitudes and behaviors regarding alcohol. Although 70 percent said it was common for Washington interns to drink alcohol and have sex in a single night, 69 percent said they had not done so themselves.
Radio personality and ABC News correspondent Dr. Drew Pinsky, who analyzed the study at the IWF's second annual "Sex and Dating Conference" on Capitol Hill yesterday, said the sexes are never farther apart hormonally than in their 20s.
"Men and women [at your age] have different goals, different objectives," he told interns who attended the conference. "Now is the time of your life to make the choices that will affect you in 20 and 40 years and to assess reality."
Dr. Pinsky said the latest survey is further proof that college-age people are "intoxicated" by arousal mechanisms that lead them in different and often unhappy directions dictated by their hormones.
When asked by Mr. Pinsky why women her age drink and "hook up" at all, one female intern replied that alcohol is "liquid courage" that facilitates conversation with men.
Washington interns are more career-oriented than most other college students, the survey showed. When asked about their most pressing concerns for the next 10 years, 39 percent cited professional goals, 25 percent cited personal desires and 14 percent cited a combination of the two.
More than half, or 55 percent, said they were more interested in finding the right spouse than the right job, but 62 percent expressed greater nervousness at the prospect of attending a job interview than going on a date.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett said these statistics are indicative of the "masculine" model of success.
"What we really want [women to be] in corporate America are these men in skirts," said Mrs. Hewlett, author of "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children."
Mrs. Hewlett said successful women such as former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala often have no children and that female interns, unlike most men, will have to face certain choices between children and their careers.



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