Colby-Sawyer College Student Intern Learns about Teamwork to Fight Disease

Deciding to intern with the Hydrocephalus Association was, I think, the best decision I could have made. I decided to take a chance. I entered an internship centered on a condition I knew very little about, and I was going to working on things that I had never really been exposed to before. Since starting my internship at the end of May, I have learned so much. One of the most important messages I will take away from my experience is that every person with hydrocephalus is different. Like many other conditions, no two people are the same. Many people have never heard of hydrocephalus, and if they have heard of hydrocephalus they tend to think it is only a problem in the developing world. I have learned though that more than 1 million Americans have Hydrocephalus, making it more prevalent than cystic fibrosis, and yet more people have heard of cystic fibrosis (I was one of those people).

Interning with the Hydrocephalus Association was a wonderful experience and I am thankful for it. Not only did I learn about a condition I knew close to nothing about, but I also learned a lot about being a professional. Having never worked in an office before, I was nervous in the beginning, but the work experience that I had taught me the importance of teamwork and though the work is different in this office, the importance of teamwork is stressed, which transcends to other work environments. The best piece of advice I can give to anyone about to start an internship is this: keep an open mind and look at everything as a learning experience. There may be days that are busier than others and there may be days where you do a lot of clerical work, but everything you do is important in some way to the organization you are working with. If you can remember that, then I truly believe you will have a great time with your internship.
— Erica Bradley, Hydrocephalus Association intern and Colby-Sawyer College Student

Franceska and the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

My internship for the spring semester is granting me the opportunity of a lifetime. I am interning with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, in the Public Interest Division.  I assist attorneys with legal research, and attend witness deposition. The more I work in the office, the more I want to achieve my goals. I am currently working with a paralegal specialist and an Assistant Attorney General (AAG) on a case. The attorneys do not only assign you a specific task but they take you under their tutelage. They tell you everything you need to know. They explain in details particular laws regarding particular cases. They also give pointers to undergraduates regarding law school. They advise us about how to succeed in Law school and on the LSAT. Interning at OAG has already broadened my view as far as what I want to do after graduation.

Being scheduled to work from 8:45 am every Tuesdays through Fridays, I am usually the first of all interns to arrive at work. Therefore, I come to work to an empty office; I usually use that time to check my emails from work, and my home institution. Most attorneys do not arrive at the office ‘til 9:30am; hence, the office is not busy until 10am. My supervisor, who is by far the best supervisor I have had, usually comes to work at 10am which is why I often used to question why was I scheduled to be in the office so early if there is nothing to work on before 10am. However, ever since I have been assigned to work on Privilege Logs, I always have something to do as soon as I arrive at work. Privilege Log is a document that contains and describes other documents to be withheld from production in a lawsuit. I have been assigned to more than 5,000 documents to describe in Privilege Log. In order to describe a document, I must read its contents and type the reason why this should be kept in the Privilege Log and from production. The work itself is not difficult; I actually work at a fast pace, finishing about 300 a day. However, to spend eight hours staring at the monitor, at the same page and repeating the same process every time can surely drain the life out of you. I have been working on Privilege Logs for nearly 2 weeks because more has been added to the list.

Time away from my desk is always cherished because it means I have a mini break from Privilege Logs. On certain days, I would have to attend a witness deposition. Choosing to attend a witness deposition instead of working on Privilege Logs can be tricky because sometimes the deposition can be even more boring than Privilege Logs. Other times, it can be pretty interesting and entertaining, especially when both attorneys start making slick comments about each other. Another way I distract myself from Privilege Logs is by attending hearings in the Federal Court. My first time there was quite an experience. The courtroom is far bigger and more impressive than I expected. ; it was bigger than expected, very formal. In a Federal Court, I learned that others can attend a private hearing; however, they will not be able to hear any interactions between the judge and the attorneys because they would turn on the “White Noise”. Others can watch the hearing but will not be able to hear anything because it is private. I found it fascinating because only half of the room could hear the attorneys and the judge; everyone else is just watching moving, silent bodies. Whenever an attorney from the Public Interest Division has a motion hearing in the Federal Court, the other interns and I would gladly leave our desk to attend. The interns and I usually take our lunch break together. The four of us always walk to Chinatown which is few blocks from our office to grab lunch and socialize; then, we walk back to our office and spend the rest of the day behind our desk until instructed otherwise.

Besides spending my entire day working on Privilege Logs, I often interact with the attorneys and the paralegal specialists in the office. Many of them have advised me about Law School and the LSATs. Given that I am one of the couple undergraduates in the office, I often spend my lunch break with 3rd year law students, which has been very beneficial to me because I get to learn what I need to know about law school from students who are on their way out. After speaking to many attorneys, paralegal specialists and current law students, I have officially decided to take a break after college graduation in order to get work experiences in the field as a paralegal. Working in the office and being in the presence of many successful attorneys have helped me make this decision that would benefit both my career and my chances of getting into a law school of my choice.

A day at the IRS, with Alex

I am a junior at Rutgers University in New Jersey majoring in economics with minors in math and political science.  My interests include macro and microeconomic issues that affect the domestic and international economies and how they influence governmental policy.  After I graduate and earn my B.A. I want to begin my career path in the public service sector. Later in my professional career I want to transition to the private financial services.  Along the way I want to pursue a graduate degree; however, until I am certain about the specific career I want to obtain the debate whether to pursue an MBA or MA/MS will continue.  Currently, for the spring 2013 semester I am studying at the Washington Internship Institute one day a week in Washington D.C.  During the rest of the week I intern full time with the Internal Revenue Service in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.  In addition, I study and research in the various libraries for my classes and the research paper I am writing for Rutgers University in order to gain course credit.

Being that my typical day as an intern is new and exciting I look forward to the experiences each day has to offer. Usually, I wake up at about 6 a.m. and quickly join the hustle of the DC commute on the Metrobus and Metrorail.  When I enter the office usually around 7:20, I first proceed by checking my email to organize my schedule of meetings and work tasks assigned.  Afterwards I meet each of my co-workers at their cubicles to have a little discussion and ask questions about any of the emails they have sent me. I may ask if there is anything I can assist with if I happen to not have anything to work on.  No matter how simple or complicated the task, I try to accept them all even if I am currently busy. I feel that this is necessary so I can show my co-workers that I am eager to learn and can take on responsibility.  I forgot to mention one crucial part of my morning, coffee, without it I would be in a daze and not prepared for the challenges a waiting the moment I step in the office. 

On Tuesdays there is usually an hour-long staff meeting in a conference room where I sit in and my business unit discusses their game plan for the day and week ahead.  I make sure to always take a notepad and pen with me to any sort of meeting or when I am talking with a co-worker.  Your co-workers want you to ask questions, it is expected of you as an intern, and without doing so you cannot learn and gain invaluable firsthand experience.  At the conclusion of the staff meeting I head back to my cubicle and begin the work I was assigned.  Thus far, my work has consisted of creating quarterly budget reports in excel and revising and editing memos. I am also assisting the audit liaison in following up on provided by client (PBC) deliverables that the Financial Management division is responsible for providing to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in accordance with our yearly audit, and I have begun to review the Unpaid Assessment Estimation process procedures in order to assist the group’s statistician.

At lunch time I grab another cup of coffee to give myself a short break or occasionally eat lunch with a professional in my office to learn more about their career path.  At the conclusion of the work day I make sure to say goodbye to my boss and other co-workers.  Directly from work I try to have at least one to two networking meetings set up a week to meet with professionals to help expand my network and gain invaluable insight to different careers and opportunities.  I am always looking for a networking opportunity or just an informational conversation with a professional during my daily commute.