Emily David ’13
Internship Site: Department of Homeland Security: Office of Intergovernmental Affairs - Washington, DC
When discussing some possibilities for summer internships with the Career Center, we brainstormed options of policy, journalism, campaigning, and government in general. The career counselor told me about an opportunity posted in DickinsonConnect at the Department of Homeland Security. Through DickinsonConnect and our alumni network, the I connected with a Dickinson alumna there, ended up having a phone interview, and secured the internship in December 2011 for a start-date in June 2012!
At IGA, I updated and managed a database of contacts, assisted members of the office on their projects, mostly with those that surrounded state issues, and I drafted one-page memos, correspondence, and briefing materials for IGA leadership. I enjoyed doing preparation work for the leadership in my office and attending different meetings because I was exposed to the many parts of the Department, but also exposed to many parts of the government in general through these projects.
The most challenging part was being thrown into a department to which I didn’t have much exposure to at the start. However, with the help of my co-workers, I was briefed on a lot of the Department’s missions, initiatives, and daily tasks. I learned from this that broad knowledge of something becomes defined through the interests and opportunities you seek from an internship.
My writing classes helped me most at this internship. I was tasked with a lot of writing and had to make sure that it was succinct and understandable to a general audience. I also had to be able to debrief and present what I had written in an informal setting: I think most class discussion-based classes helped me with this.
I am very fortunate because every single one of my co-workers was welcoming and open to talk about the Department, their career path, or my future with me. I learned a lot from every single person in my office because they were all so open to let that happen.
This experience has shown me a different facet of government than I have seen before. It has piqued my interest in security issues and emphasized that I am interested in a career in homeland politics in some manner of the term.
Tips from Emily:
Speak to the Career Center and share your interests with them: they might know of something that might interest you, even if it is something you wouldn’t normally think you would lean towards. Also, try fields that you’ve never explored before: It will tell you what you are good and bad at, and you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find in that field.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.