Liza Long of Gustavus Adolphus College Discusses Spring 2018 DC Experience

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Where did you intern this Fall and what were some of your favorite projects?

I interned at the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, which is a bipartisan nonprofit dedicated to supporting women in Congress and their efforts to work across the aisle. My favorite project was writing our legislative report, The Source, which is sent weekly to our subscribers. Throughout the semester, I tracked legislation through the policy process and attended committee hearings on the hill.  Writing for The Source was a really valuable way to learn about the nuances of the legislative process and confirm my interest in public policy.

What did you learn in your classes?

The Inside Washington class delved into a variety of public policy issues. We had the opportunity to hear speakers from both conservative and liberal organizations, which was a great way to develop viewpoints and become familiar with policy arguments.

What did you do in your free time?

I spent a lot of time going to the Smithsonian’s—I especially loved the African American History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. I also liked exploring U St. and checking out the DC restaurant scene. I went to shows at the Anthem and the 9:30 club, which are both amazing venues.

Recommendations for future DC interns?

Make the most of every networking opportunity and work hard at your internship, as these connections are very important. But, don’t forget to take time for yourself and explore everything DC has to offer! There are tons of social events and meetups that are amazing places to meet new people and get acquainted with the city.

Phoebe Thaler from Roger Williams Talks about the Experience of Interning with US Senator Tammy Baldwin Last Summer

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Every morning I would get off the metro at Union Station and walk towards the entrance, seeing the Capitol Building in the distance. I would walk with the crowd of well-dressed D.C. professionals towards the Hart Senate Office Building, show my ID, and take the elevator to the 7th floor. Finally, I would look at the plaque outside the door that read, “United States Senator Tammy Baldwin,” as I walked in. Despite working on the hill all summer, I never seized to be in awe walking through the capitol to deliver something important or seeing a Senator who I look up to in the hallway. One day, when I was waiting for the elevator Senator Tom Carper from Delaware invited me to ride up with him in the “Senator’s Only” elevator! Participating in the Washington Internship Institute allowed me to be part of a community of college students living in DC from across the nation, take classes to improve my skills when applying to internships and in the professional world, and work on narrowing my future career path.

At my internship, I would code constituent correspondence, sort mail, and take constituent calls. I would also write constituent response letters, attend policy briefings, write issue memos, and sometimes even give capitol tours. I was assigned to the legislative team working with women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and disability rights, which is where my passions lie. Through this internship I could better understand what I wanted to do for my career. While in D.C. I also had the opportunity to attend an information panel on the George Washington Graduate School of Political Management, where I would like to get a master’s degree in legislative affairs. I enjoyed the experience working on human rights policy and have decided I would like to pursue a policy based career, either in a congressional office or at an advocacy organization. I am already looking at going back to Washington to do a policy/government relations internship at a women or LGBTQ based advocacy organization this summer. I did a political and policy based internship, but there are an incredible and diverse amount of options for all majors and interests in the D.C. area. This is a list of some of the many places students have interned through WII in the past:

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

Northeast-Midwest Institute

American Heart Association

Street Sense United States Coast Guard

International Rescue Committee Council on Foreign Relations CBS News Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee One World Youth Project

I also got to meet some amazing people through the community of WII. We all stayed at a nice apartment building in Arlington, Virginia, which is only a quick metro ride to the District. I became friendly with all the people in the program this past summer, and we often hung out on the building’s roof top deck. I also got to spend more time with the people I met through our courses at WII. There was an Internship Seminar course that equips you with the tools for life in D.C., networking, and figuring out future career plans, along with an elective course. For my elective, I took “Global Women’s Leadership Development,” which was a mix of gender studies, history, political science, and sociology. I enjoyed how we got to visit different sites and ended the summer by working with a group to create a mock organization and the policy that it would push for. There are also courses in general political science, international affairs, and sometimes in environmental and health policy. The courses allowed us to apply what we were learning in our internships and allowed for a more well-rounded experience. Overall, it was an amazing summer and I would highly recommend the program!

Marissa Palladini of Endicott College Speaks on Her Time as an Intern at the Supreme Court


This Fall, I interned with the Supreme Court of the United States. I performed various tasks throughout the Clerk’s Office, such as responding to case-related inquiries and maintaining case filings. In my free time, I would tour the city with friends, try out new restaurants, go to museums, go shopping, or go to special events.

For future interns, I would recommend taking advantage of your time in DC - there is so much to do and see. It helps to make a list of everything you want to do and then try to check things off throughout the semester. Three months goes by much faster than you think. Also, it is important to budget your money wisely since there is so much to do.


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Where did you intern this Fall and what were some of your favorite projects?

This Fall I interned at the Northeast-Midwest Institute as the Environmental Policy Intern. Throughout the semester I worked on various projects relating to environmentalism and environmental policy. My largest project was a lead service line replacement project where I took an in depth look at major cities in the Northeast-Midwest region and assessed their lead service line replacement plans, which lasted the duration of the semester. I also worked on an ongoing project that tracked/monitored legislation pertaining to the Mississippi River Basin, the Great Lakes region, and cities within the 18 states in the Northeast and Midwest region. Additionally, I was able to attend pertinent briefings and hearings on Capitol Hill which was a wonderful and unique experience.

What did you learn in your classes?

Throughout the duration of the semester I would say that the internship seminar class was most valuable to me. In this class we used our time to go over practical drills that would be especially useful when applying or looking for a job. One thing that I found extremely valuable was the amount of time that we spent practicing job interview questions and answers and acting out various scenarios and how we would approach different situations. This gave me more confidence to be able to successfully navigate a job interview in the future. Another aspect of this class that was extremely helpful was the feedback that we received on our cover letters and resumes. Constructive criticism by our peers as well as the professor was invaluable. 

What did you do in your free time?

In my free time I explored the city. This included going to see the monuments, the Smithsonian museums, Georgetown, and restaurants in various locations around DC. I definitely used after work opportunities and weekends to fit as much into my schedule as I could in regards to exploring the city. One critical aspect for me was experiencing a multitude of different things around the city. One of my favorite activities was when I attended a Symphony on the West Lawn of the Capitol building. This was something that had been a completely new experience for me and something that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Recommendations for future DC interns?

My recommendation for future DC interns is to definitely take advantage of your time in DC by doing things you normally wouldn’t. You can do this in a number of different ways (i.e. attending different events, networking with your fellow interns and others, visiting different locations around the city) but I think what is most important is that you get out of your comfort zone.  I think by letting yourself be open to a number of different activities you expose yourself to new experiences that you may never have had the chance to before.



Where did you intern this Fall and what were some of your favorite projects?

This fall, I interned at the Office of International Affairs in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Within this office, I communicated daily with international affairs specialists, attorneys, and directors. My favorite projects included research involving internet service providers and their connections to crimes occurring around the world. Also, by interning in this office, I worked on terrorism cases and child exploitation cases. These cases meant a great deal to me as both of those topics are of special interest to myself.

What did you learn in your classes?

In the Internship Seminar, I learned many valuable and applicable skills. Specifically, I enhanced my résumé and my cover letter for future applications. I also became more comfortable with public speaking and introducing myself to potential employers or network connections.

In the Inside Washington class, we visited think-tanks every week that provided different perspectives for myself and fellow classmates to analyze. We also participated in academic discussions regarding a multitude of topics including the death penalty, abortion, immigration, and political polarization.

What did you do in your free time?

During my free time in D.C., I visited most of the museums located in and around the city. One of the more unique things that I did this semester was register for a Researcher Card at the Library of Congress to gain access to the actual Library. I also became very close with the other students in the program and we often spent time together, either in the apartments or on trips to the city. Lastly, I went on weekend trips to New York and Southern Virginia because of the easy access to trains and buses.

Recommendations for future DC interns?

For future D.C. interns, I recommend visiting as many museums, monuments, and other historical places as possible. Many times, there are unexpected closures with uncertain openings. This happened to this semester’s students with the closing of the Washington Monument. I also recommend traveling into D.C. for some of the social events that occur over the weekend, including many events that are free.


Dominican University student raul Navarrete speaks on his experience at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Where did you intern this Fall and what were some of your favorite projects?

In the fall of 2017, I was a Fellow at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and could not have been placed at a better organization than this one. Throughout my time at the Foundation, I was given the tools and resources necessary for my success, in order to achieve and advance professionally, mentally, socially, and intellectually. I was a part of a small, yet mighty Foundation team whom the majority were new to their role. The experience I received, through the projects I was assigned, was quite substantial as I took on projects that would later take me to Dallas, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee. The substantive work I received and contributed to the Foundation involved helping manage programs and initiatives that contributed to encouraging entrepreneurial ideals, cultivate business growth, strengthen local chambers, and foster leadership values. I’m extremely thankful for the Washington Internship Institute for being the bridge in the placement process and connecting me to a wonderful organization.

What did you learn in your classes?

The classes provided by the Washington Internship Institute were tremendously beneficial to my professional development and also contributed to my knowledge of Policy & Politics. We touched on widely discussed topics such as: education reform, immigration reform, healthcare reform, campaign financing, the death penalty, etc. Overall, the classes helped me advance myself and zero in on my personal political stance and essentially helped keep me well informed with our current administration. Being inside Washington gave me perspective of who I want to become and where I want to go in life.

What did you do in your free time?

At first, free time in D.C seemed like it was only on the weekends, but as the semester continued, I quickly realized that free time was any time I wasn’t in the office. I attended networking events, took self-guided tours of all the FREE museums D.C has to offer, joined a dance team to cater to my dancer’s lifestyle, went to happy hours with my roommates, played 8-ball pool in my penthouse, became a foodie (D.C has great food) and overall lived my best life.

Recommendations for future DC interns?

·      DO NOT enclose yourself in your apartment and take full advantage of all the resources and events happening around you!

·      Budget your money wisely.

·      Build life-long connections with your cohort.

·      Remember that you are not only representing WII and the organization in which you work for but also yourself.






Where did you intern this Fall and what were some of your favorite projects?                             

I completed an internship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars which is most frequently referred to as the Wilson Center. I worked specifically as a Staff Intern with the Middle East Program. It was part of my daily responsibilities to remain as knowledgeable as I possibly could about recent Middle East topics and issues. Every day I wrote and compiled a Middle East-North Africa News Brief and also handled the Program’s twitter. When the Middle East Program hosted events I wrote speaker bios and summaries of the events which were published on the Wilson Center website. Apart from that, I was frequently asked to write memos on specific topics in the Middle East in which I would then brief Aaron David Miller, the Program’s director. When Middle East-related publications were near ready for publication I was one of the last people to look them over for final edits. However, some of my favorite projects were those of my own in which I conducted my own research on topics like Hezbollah, ISIS after Raqqa, and Palestinian reconciliation. I was encouraged by those I worked for to do so and it was very rewarding to get feedback from them on my own work.

What did you learn in your classes?

I learned quite a few things in the two classes I was enrolled in throughout the semester. In the Internship Seminar course, I learned about the importance of public speaking, being able to effectively communicate with others, networking, and how to be a professional. Through in-class speaking and interviewing exercises I was able to become much more confident in these areas. Our professor gave us a lot of great advice when it came to business cards, resumes, cover letters and letters of recommendations. This was very beneficial. The other course I enrolled in was International and Foreign Policy Studies. In this class, I was able to obtain a more well-rounded understanding of the key issues that the world faces and how the United States responds to them. Both classes frequently had guest speakers come to class that provided us with helpful advice for our careers going forward. In International and Foreign Policy Studies we also had a few site visits to different think tanks, which I particularly enjoyed.

What did you do in your free time?

In my free time, which generally was on the weekends, I liked to go do something new every day. My friends and I would pick a new area and go exploring for the day. In the beginning of my time living in Washington, D.C. it was all about seeing the main attractions such as the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and Capitol Hill. However, as time went on we quickly realized there was a lot more to do and to see and figured we had to experience D.C. as much as we could before we had to leave. Some of my favorite places included Georgetown, DuPont Circle, and Alexandria by the waterfront. All three are not in the middle of D.C. but are fairly close and provide a different type of experience. Some of my favorite things I did throughout the semester was seeing a Washington Nationals and Washington Wizards game, kayaking on the Potomac River, getting a tour of the White House gardens, and trying out all the great food options throughout the city.

Recommendations for future DC interns?

My best piece of advice for future interns in D.C. would be to not stay in the apartment all day after work and on the weekends. Get out of your room, explore and meet as many new people as you can. Even those that aren’t on the same “team” as you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Networking is a big part of D.C. life and it is through this that you will get your next job or internship. Seek out professionals whom you admire and aspire to be like and meet with them to ask for advice and their careers. Furthermore, an internship is supposed to be a learning experience, but you have to approach this differently than you would a college lecture. Get ready to spend a lot of time listening. There will be no grades to dispute, and you should welcome constructive criticism about your work. And chances are that the people who will teach you the most are not the bosses you occasionally see at meetings, but your fellow interns and the young staffers sitting near you. Other than that, make time to go have fun! There are so many great things to do in D.C.