Five Things to Consider When Applying to PPIP as a Graduate Student

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 04, 2017

Are you interested in completing a public policy internship, but worried about the logistics as a graduate student? As a current intern and Ph.D. student, I have some advice to provide to future PPIP applicants:
  1. Communication is key! Tell your department that you plan to apply to PPIP. It is possible that the nature of your program will make it impossible to leave College Station for a semester. However, don’t make assumptions that it can’t be done! My advisor and department head were very supportive of me pursuing this experience, and helped me navigate questions about maintaining full-time enrollment and funding during the internship.
  1. Think of the unique perspective your graduate work might provide to a public policy internship. Most industries and companies have government relations offices. What skills from your coursework or research experience could you apply to an internship?  Research and writing skills from my clinical psychology degree are extremely relevant to my placement at the American Psychological Association. However, many of these same skills could be applied to other offices and positions.
  1. In turn, consider how an internship could contribute to your future. Even if you don’t pursue a career in public policy, knowledge of public policy can be useful for work in industry, academia, and research. Use your time in D.C. to add experiences to your CV.
  1. Time management: It is a cliché, but if you are still juggling research and coursework from A&M, you need to think about how you will balance this with a 40+ hour/week internship. My commute is usually 40 minutes each way, which eats into working hours. Consider how you will balance your different responsibilities while in D.C.
  1. Enjoy your time in D.C.! This is hard for graduate students, but try not to spend all your time working. There are so many things to see (and eat) in D.C., many of them free, that it would be a shame to spend every weekend working. 

Best of luck with your applications!

Elyse Mowle
American Psychological Association
Washington, D.C. | fall 2017