Summer 2013 WISH Internships Intern Spotlight: Chris Donkin
My summer internship experience in Washington, DC was simply incredible! At first it was tough to leave behind a comfortable environment in New Jersey – friends and family, longtime coworkers and neighbors – and move to a city where the stakes are high and everything moves so quickly. The nation’s capital can be a bit intimidating to a kid from the Jersey Shore!
My passion for homeland defense was the driving force that made me seek out this opportunity with WISH. This internship has provided me with experiences of immeasurable importance. I was surrounded by dedicated colleagues at the Capstone government affairs firm, and that inspired me to work hard on all tasks and projects assigned to me, no matter how big or small. By working directly with our clients, I gained a new appreciation for important current issues, including: education reform, military base realignment, cancer research, and post-traumatic stress therapies for our returning war veterans. Simply having the opportunity to contribute in a positive way – to help bring these important political, social, and economic issues into the forefront – was truly an awesome feeling.
I certainly could not have stayed productive and focused this summer without the support of my roommates and new friends. They were always there to help me enjoy the best parts of DC. A highlight for me was seeing Colin Powell speak at the Memorial Day ceremony on Capitol Hill during my first weekend in town. I also enjoyed visiting the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall, watching the Independence Day fireworks from the Washington Monument, and even just hanging out at the bar after work – there was never a dull moment this summer!
I reflected on my internship experience on the three-hour car ride home, and came up with a few takeaways. I learned it is best to stay humble and let your work speak for you. It’s easy to get consumed with your work, but taking time for yourself to have fun and relax your mind is always important. Keep an open mind and be adventurous, don’t be afraid to try new things – the nation’s capital is the ideal place to explore new foods, sights and activities. And on a personal note, I’ve come away convinced that a career in Homeland Security is my true calling. My first summer stay in Washington was one to remember, and I certainly hope that it won’t be my last!