As you head back to school this fall, there’s something you should try to keep in mind. You spent the summer in Washington, D.C. working as an intern, giving you a variety of unique perspectives with the people that help shape public policy. And that is something that’s specific to YOU. Here are some great examples of how DC internships helped students better refine their career goals:
Anni Krummel, an East Peoria teacher and doctoral student at Illinois State, spent her summer interning for the U.S. Department of Education’s new Office of Early Learning. Which doesn’t mean taking courses early in the morning. It meant she was squarely in the middle of the Obama administration’s top education initiative—high-quality preschool for all. “I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to see the policy side, to understand where the policies come from that I’m implementing in my classroom as a teacher”, said Krummel.
WHAT WAS GAINED: Focus. Krummel learned she can make a greater impact on early-learning policy issues at the state rather than federal level, something that helped her focus in on what she plans on doing after finishing her Ed.D. in Teaching and Learning. She’s in her last year of coursework, then she starts her dissertation, which may or may not entail waking up very early.
Keeping It Movin’
And by “IT” we mean “US”. Dominic (last name withheld) a University of Ottawa Political Science and Public Administration major, did an internship at Ball Janik LLP, a lobby and government affairs firm. As an intern, he worked primarily with the lobbyists to assist them with various projects related to their legislative work. This included assisting an organization called Transportation for America as they launched a grassroots campaign urging elected officials to create a sustainable transportation system so desperately needed in the United States. “Everyday was a learning experience,” he said. “When I first moved (to DC) I knew very little about the legislative process and my goal was to observe it and learn about it as much as possible. This internship has definitely enabled me to do this above and beyond my initial expectations.” And everyone that drives the I-95 everyday is desperately rooting for you, Dominic.
WHAT WAS GAINED: Networking opportunities. Dominic participated in many extracurricular activities that allowed him to utilize his ABNs (Always Be Networking) by meeting and networking with people that work at agencies that he was interested in.
The Intern of Defense
Asif (last name withheld) is a Virginia Tech Business Information Technology major. He worked in the Department of Defense with the IT Team to help design and implement an affective IT Infrastructure pertaining to military bases that has a really long name and sounds really important. And it probably is, which explains why most of Asif’s duties are classified.
WHAT WAS GAINED: Knowledge. “I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, as far as a career is concerned, since the beginning of college” Asif said. “My problem was not knowing exactly how to go about doing so. This internship has helped clear up the picture.”
As you can see, a summer internship in Washington, DC is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to focus their careers and make important professional contacts. Never forget this as you forge ahead with your goals. It gives you a unique perspective that few of your fellow students will ever experience. Make the most of your opportunity and take your time in DC with you as you head back to school and beyond.