U.S. Department of State
This experience has taught me the value of professional networking. As an intern at the U.S. Department of State, I had regular mentorship opportunities from career professionals and government employees. I scheduled coffee every day with a different staff member, and this helped to shape my post-graduate plans and ultimately informed my decision to stay in D.C. Although there is tremendous value to classroom instruction and learning, there is something invaluable about a professional practicum. For future students, I would highly recommend doing a practicum, as this helped to shape my interest in pursuing a civil service career. For students who choose to do a practicum, I would also recommend taking advantage of the wealth of resources that are available. For me, I was fortunate enough to attend events on behalf of Department of State, which allowed me to expand my network multi-fold. I met with foreign diplomats and politicians as well as civil society leaders from Latin America. This internship experience was incredibly insightful for the shear exposure it allowed.
Prior to this internship, I thought that I would only work in the nonprofit sector, but increasingly, I have come to find value in government/civil servant employment. My colleagues worked long hours to ensure that U.S. foreign policy advanced human rights and addressed major humanitarian issues around the world, and I would want to do similarly. I want to help design more effective policy tools so as to direct foreign assistance funding and to help entire populations on a macro scale. This internship provided an opportunity for me to test out a new career, and I think that was incredibly beneficial.