How to Join the Secret Service (& other tips for making the most of your internship)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 14, 2019

Disclaimer: My stint as a "Secret Service agent" was short-lived, and I may have not been officially recognized as one.

I did, however manage to be in the right place at the right time, through a combination of persistence and luck.

I work in the Department of Commerce at the International Trade Administration. There are three offices in the ITA, and I work at the largest: Global Markets. Every year, Global Markets puts on a conference to encourage foreign investment in the United States, called the SelectUSA Summit. When I showed up on the first day of my internship, my supervisor told me that he had signed myself and my fellow PPIP intern up to volunteer at the conference (luck).

Every morning, we had to show up at 6:30 a.m. at the conference. In business attire. Via a long metro commute. Neither of us were very happy about the time, but we pulled through and showed up every single morning (persistence).

On the last day of the conference, my morning assignment was to stand in the lobby and direct people to the ballroom, where speakers would be giving presentations throughout the day. After only about 45 minutes, my on-site supervisor ran into me and asked me to accompany her to the first speech of the day to “fill up the room” (luck).

One of the speakers on the schedule was Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump. When she came onto the stage, a mass of people left their seats and ran up to the stage to get their picture of her. Another volunteer rushed over to my table in a panic and said that if we weren’t able to get everyone to sit down, the Secret Service would either remove her from the stage or dispel the crowd themselves. We all jumped up and made our way to the front of the ballroom. I started by politely asking people to return to their seats, then took a page from my supervisor’s book and started body blocking people’s phone cameras to show them I was serious. We eventually got everyone to sit down (persistence).

Nothing else interesting happened, but in my head the Secret Service agent at the foot of the stage gave me a Gig ‘em, and I received the Presidential Metal of Freedom for my selfless service. The best part is that I almost didn’t even get out of bed that morning – I overslept and thought about just calling in sick.

The point? Show up, be persistent, and maybe you’ll fall into a situation where you can do something cool, like temporarily join the Secret Service.

Lauren Slusher
U.S. Dept. of Commerce
Washington, D.C. | summer 2019