Nazareth College Students Speak on Their Times in DC

Dana Teets

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

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I interned at the Newseum in the education, volunteer and visitor services department. Some of my favorite projects were working with the entire department as well as the curatorial department to create an activity cart for visitors based on media literacy. This cart engages visitors in various activities that can help them sift out good information from bad information in the media. Another one of my favorite projects was researching libraries in the DMV area for the Newseum education's department to partner with in order to give classes on identifying fake news.

What did you learn in your classes?

I learned a lot about interviewing tactics and ways to ease nerves when giving presentations and interviews in my one class. In my other class, I learned a lot about foreign policy and its many aspects. I had never taken a foreign policy class before, but taking it in DC made it worthwhile!

What did you do in your free time?

In my free time, I visited museums and dove into DC's food culture! I have had Russian food, Korean BBQ, Vietnamese food, German food, authentic French food and so much different coffee and ice cream!! Where I am from in New York, there is not much diversity in food choices so I thrived in the DC food scene. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Cherry Blossom Festival and happy hours once I turned 21!

Recommendations for future DC interns?

My recommendations for future DC interns is to always keep an open mind and force yourself to step outside your comfort zone. I am very much a family and friend oriented person, so leaving them and coming to DC by myself was hard, but this has been the greatest learning experience of my life so far. If you just let yourself experience everything new around you with an open mind, you learn so much about yourself and other people. But also, don't take everything too seriously; let yourself have fun and take in your surroundings while you are here. Also, network while you can because there is no better place to do it!


Annie Stull

Four days a week for the last fifteen weeks, I have woken up and driven to work at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, VA. It has been an absolute honor and a privilege to intern in the Grassroots Division of the NRA-ILA. The ILA stands for the Institute for Legislative Action, which is the political arm of the NRA, and what makes the NRA most famous. The NRA has always been my dream organization, even before I set my sights on a Political Science major. I am grateful that the Washington Internship Institute helped me find my way here.

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At my internship, I work directly with our Grassroots staff. One of our main goals is to mobilize gun-friendly voters and encourage them to get involved. Some of the tasks I was responsible for included coordinating volunteer efforts for local gun shows and interacting with people at various political conferences, like CPAC and LibertyCon. Additionally, I was also responsible for conducting my own research and presenting to Grassroots Coordinators on many issues within the current gun control debate so I was properly familiarized with the subject when I did have the opportunity to interact with people outside the office.

My favorite part of my internship was attending CPAC with my colleagues. I am very interested in pursuing opportunities within either campaigning or grassroots efforts by a political organization, so it was a great opportunity to experience these interactions at a booth representing the NRA-ILA. When I wasn’t working, I had the opportunity to attend the various seminars and listen to different political speakers at the conference. I watched so many speakers live at the event, including President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA Spokeswoman Dana Loesch, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, TPUSA Founder Charlie Kirk, and many more. I also had the privilege to actually meet and take photos with TPUSA Communications Director Candace Owens, Sheriff David Clarke, and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire Ben Shapiro.

On Tuesdays, I had to take two courses at the Washington Internship Institute. In the morning, I had Internship Seminar, where I learned a lot of helpful professional skills such as interviewing and elevator pitches. I never thought the elevator pitch would actually be helpful, until I was in the elevator at my internship and literally ran into NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox. In the afternoon, I chose the elective Inside Washington: Policy and Politics, where I had the opportunity to read about a topic each week and then debate with my fellow classmates. The coolest part about this course was that every week, we would also go see a speaker on the topic that is an expert in that field. We heard from professionals at the National Right to Life Committee, The Heritage Foundation, and an attorney that actually has prosecuted in cases where the death penalty was on the table. I also had the distinct privilege to invite one of my own supervisors to speak on behalf of the NRA when we were discussing gun control.

In my free time, I would explore Washington, DC with my fellow classmates. I visited so many amazing places, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Capitol Building, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Overall, my favorite attraction had to be the Newseum, which focuses on reporters and how they exercised their First Amendment rights during hardships and tragedies around the world. I also am a huge sports fanatic, so I was sure to attend a Washington Capitals hockey game and a couple Washington Nationals baseball games.

All in all, I truly had the time of my life interning in the Washington, DC area, and I owe this to the Washington Internship Institute. This city has so much offer that cannot be rivaled anywhere else in the world. Not only will this experience be pivotal in my professional career, but I have also developed friendships that will last throughout the rest of my personal lifetime. The people both in my program and at my workplace were some of the kindest and most passionate people I have ever met and they made my transition to life in Washington so much easier for me. My biggest piece of advice to future interns is to step out of your comfort zone. I am typically very timid, but I really allowed myself to keep an open-mind and experience everything I possibly could, even if I was sometimes uncomfortable at first. I honestly made the absolute most of my time in this city, and I hope that you will fall just as much in love with it as I did.

Q&A with Denzel Averhart, Spring 2018 Intern at The Executive Office of the Mayor from Saint Xavier University

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

I interned at the DC mayor's office, and my favorite assignment was filming the mayor's events. I was able to attend the events, film them, interview people, and edit the videos afterwards.

What did you learn in your classes?

My classes taught me what Washington really has to offer, and how I needed to prepare for the opportunities that could arise. We went over all the hard-hitting topics that currently shake Washington's political sphere, while also learning how to get a job.

What did you do in your free time?

I went to museums and happy hours on the weekends. The Madhatter soon became my favorite place to go after hours. The atmosphere and drinks simply couldn't be beat.

Recommendations for future DC interns?

Really go after every opportunity that presents itself. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and you may find that you can expand into areas you never thought possible. One lunch with your supervisor could turn in to anything. Give DC a chance!

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

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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.

Q&A WITH Alexandra Nigro, FALL 2017 INTERN AT NORTHEAST-MIDWEST INSTITUTE FROM URSINUS COLLEGE

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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.

OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE STUDENT MEIGHANN MAHONEY DISCUSSES FALL 2017 DC EXPERIENCE

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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.