Don’t take our word for it, listen to what the experts have to say!
“My internship experience provided me with so much personal insight that I grew stronger in my values, passions, and beliefs. I learned a lot about what I do not want in a career and what I do want. My daily activities included a lot of email correspondence, attending meetings, listening in on conference calls to our European countries, and working on “taskers” or assignments with priority due dates. I have enjoyed my job very much because each day is different than the one preceding. I made close relationships with each of my colleagues and I know I will maintain these friendships forever which are incredibly valuable. Beyond work there is an unbelievable amount of activities to take part in. From touring free Smithsonians, to exercising on the National Mall, to indulging in the multinational food options throughout D.C. – you’ll never have a dull moment.” -Shelby Alverson, spring 2012 intern for the U.S. Department of Commerce
“Working so closely with the President’s policy advisors, I have developed a greater respect for all that must be done in order for the government to function. The responsibilities that were given to me as an intern have astounded me. I am so grateful that my superiors trust me with all the tasks they have assigned me with. However, with so many duties, I was very overwhelmed throughout my internship. One thing that I excel at is always maintaining a positive attitude. Because of the long hours and great number of responsibilities, it is easy to forget where you are and what you are doing. During moments of high stress, I remind myself of where I am working and how hard I worked to get here. Once I gain perspective, I get motivation to continue with the rest of my day. By remaining grateful, humble and positive, I help create and maintain a positive workplace atmosphere, which is critical not just for me, but also for my coworkers as they complete their tasks.” -Ashita Ganguly, fall 2011 intern for White House, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs
“The nation’s capital offers an international atmosphere approached by only a handful of other cities in the United States. During the course of my work with the EPA, I had the good fortune of meeting with many foreign delegates from the Chinese counterpart to the United States EPA. Showing these delegates around town definitely gave me a sense of America’s pride within the realm of international relations.
My most rewarding experience was probably the full day conference pertaining to the future of energy policy that I attended. In addition to receiving complimentary breakfast and lunch, I learned much about the concerns of the different regions and industries regarding the future of energy policy. The speakers were excellent, and I had the opportunity to become better informed about a topic in which I had previous interest. I had the chance to attend many conferences and seminars, and this one was my favorite.” -Yale Fu, summer 2011 intern for EPA, Air and Radiation
“Interning at The Heritage Foundation exceeded my highest expectations of a Washington, D.C. internship. Within weeks of my internship, I was assigned a four month-long research project by a graduate assistant in my office about early American foreign policy. I was tasked with compiling import and export data of American commerce and diplomacy from 1790 to 1860. This involved recent trips to the Library of Congress and communication with the Department of State. When the graduate assistant’s research is published, I will receive credit not as an intern, but as the project’s research assistant.
This is the perfect way to end an undergraduate degree in political science. Why pass up an opportunity to visit the city you have studied for four years? Why pass up the resources A&M has to offer through this program and their alumni network in DC? For an Aggie, this is the best way to enter Washington, and I cannot recommend this program enough to any student interested in working here [D.C.] one day.” -Michael Sobolik, spring 2011 intern for The Heritage Foundation
Working a 9 to 5 job in an office can be difficult initially because it was my first 40 hours a week experience. After the first week I got into a routine and I would recommend to others to do the same. Working was difficult at first because in my office acronyms are a language, but once you figure out the code and can decipher them, before you know it you will be speaking in letters instead of words. In my internship I gained an entire knowledge base that I would have never learned without coming to DC and being put to work. I am extremely grateful that I chose to come to DC and my work experience has helped me develop personally and gain a new set of skills and positive expectations for my future.
I compiled research for one of my coworkers and I found out that the research I was able to put together was comprehensive and in depth enough to be used in a session for the annual conference. It was great to see work that I had done was actually having a direct impact and know my work was making a difference. -Jordan De La Cruz , fall 2011 intern for American Public Health and Human Services Association
“I think my most rewarding experience working as an intern is in relation to my role of heading National Preparedness Month’s legislative operations. I started getting projects in small pieces, but kept expanding it and making it grow, until the point where directors from other offices would send me stuff to sign off on and thank me for my work.
There are experiences in our lives that define us as we continue to move forward. My internship experience in Washington DC is nothing short of that. Through my time here I have grown so much on not only a professional level, but a most certainly a personal one as well. I learned about my interests in regards to civil rights, I saw the governmental process in action, and most importantly I saw myself go through challenges and triumph and grow in the process of many. As I get ready to leave DC, I walk away with more than just an internship on a resume, I walk away confident with the skills and abilities I have gained, the friends I have made, and the new found sense of belief in the journey, which is so vastly different for each of us.” -Omar El-Halwagi, summer 2010 intern for FEMA, Legislative Affairs
“I generally research organizations involved in invasive species efforts, as well as help edit newsletters and factsheets. My office is housed in the Department of Interior, and we have done a lot of “brown bag” lunches and information sessions between my office and the Office of the Secretary, that we’re under. They also host little information sessions such as ‘organic gardening’ and ‘climate change 101’ that were really interesting to go to and learn about. I have also had the opportunity to do Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point training, as well as attended congressional hearings and other federal agency meetings.
My experiences in D.C. have helped me learn more about the world and to step out of my comfort zone of Texas. Living without a car is actually pretty easy! I’m glad I have had this experience to learn something new and know that I can move anywhere and adapt easily! It is truly amazing to get to spend a semester in the Nation’s Capital!” -Kelly Kay Clark, spring 2010 intern for the National Invasive Species Council
“Over the course of this semester,I’ve gotten to hear from the President’s personal aide, one of his senior advisors, David Axelrod; and his deputy Chief of Staff, just to name a few. Moreover, I’ve had the chance to meet the Vice President, the Second Lacy, Secretary Gates, and the First Lady. Ever further, each morning, I’ve had the chance to walk in the front gates of the White House. It’s been surreal.
I have been helping plan and carry out the Vice President’s trips by coordinating each aspect of them. For example, this encompasses Secret Service, Air Force II, Marine II, motorcades, lodging, staff travel, and pre and post trip reports and cost analysis. This have given me a chance to work in face-paced and goal oriented environment where sudden changes are common and simply a part of the game.” -Hersh Fernandes, spring 2010 intern for White House office of the Vice President
“While working at the Department of Commerce, I worked on a variety of projects related to international trade that allowed me to correspond with specialists in the field. From meeting ambassadors to helping develop strategy plans, it was a never a dull moment in our office. A lot of my work had to do with corresponding with our posts in foreign embassies. Often times there would be information that needed to be gathered from our multiple posts in Western Europe and I would be the point of contacts for the countries to send their info to.
Washington D.C. is also a great place to try out activities that you may not have had access to in a smaller town (such as College Station). Being the capital of the nation, you can almost certainly find a group of people interested in the same things as you. From salsa dancing to triathlons to wine tasting, if you want to try it, D.C. has it. Personally, I had been wanting to learn Spanish for awhile but did not have the time while taking classes at A&M. I signed up for a Spanish tutoring class midway through my time in D.C. and spent 8 weeks studying the language after work. It was a great experience and one I probably wouldn’t have indulged in had I been back at school.” -Alex McQuade, fall 2009 intern for Department of Commerce
“Any given ‘life experience’ consists of twist and turns of excitement; but if the words “Washington, D.C.” and “Intern” are thrown into the mix, the excitement is magnified. This past semester I got to work in a place where business suits and policy making are the norm. I lived in the same place as people I have learned about in history books. Every day I woke up and stepped into an ordinary world where extraordinary was waiting around the corner.
The first aspect of my exciting internship was experiencing the working world. I worked with a company that does civic engagement about land-use policy, so I truly feel that I got a unique perspective of D.C. We worked with ordinary people who were, and still are, making the world extraordinary. Every citizen at our public outreach events were stepping outside of the box and making a difference in their community. To me, that is what the whole D.C. atmosphere is about. No matter what land development projects we were facilitating, the people were willing and ready to speak up and out for what they believe in. Working in an environment like this has made me want to get more involved in my community back home in Texas.” -Amber Briggs, fall 2009 intern for Justice and Sustainability Associates, LLC
“I’m so glad I also had the opportunity to explore outside the D.C. area as well. Adventure was often the name of the game, and every month, the fellow interns and I would load up and head off for a weekend of fun. We went to the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City, MD, Amish country, Gettysburg, Great Falls, VA, Philadelphia, and New York City. I think it was important to realize that coming to D.C. does not mean that you have to stay in D.C. Every intern should adventure outside the city and experience the greater northeast. There is so much fun to have! From my work adventures to my exploring adventures, this experience was incredible!” -Jessica Rogers, fall 2009 intern for Department of State, Youth Programs