How to Find and Apply for Internships in DC
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How to Find and Apply for Internships in DC

– Good afternoon. It’s great to see
such a full room, I wasn’t really expecting this
but it’s wonderful to see. My name’s Andy Coopersmith,
I’m the Managing Director of the Penn Wharton
Public Policy Initiative. I’m joined up here by Lynn
Kershner from Career Services. We also have a
panel here that will be speaking with you today. Part of the reason
why we run this panel, and we’ve run it for
the past couple of years is that unlike
on-campus recruiting which is very structured,
has a very strict schedule, very easy to follow, although
very arduous to get through, finding summer opportunities
in D.C. is the exact opposite. It is not structured,
you have to really be very proactive
and entrepreneurial in finding information,
in tracking down resources and information
about opportunities, and so we wanted
to have this panel early in the spring semester
to try to give you all a bit of a head start
in thinking about what lies ahead, if you’re
planning on working in D.C. – So Andy mentioned
on-campus recruiting, and I think that
often Career Services can be conflated with
OCR, and it can be assumed that it’s
the only thing we do. I wanna let you know
that we’re here for you wherever you are in the process,
so if you have absolutely no idea what you wanna
do or if you’re certain and you know this exact
thing is what you want and you need help
with identifying steps for how to get there, we can
help you with all of that. There’s career exploration
tools that we have, we can also help you with
some of the practical things like resumes, cover
letters, even finding ways to find those opportunities. I think that Handshake
is still gonna be a really valuable
resource for many of you, but know that we also
subscribe to many other subscriptions
that you can find on our digital career
resources page, including policy
jobs, political jobs, there’s a Tom Manatos Job
Board that we pay for, so I know that our
website is a lot. It can be difficult to
navigate, so I always recommend that you
come in and meet with an advisor one
on one so you can have a personal conversation about
how we can best help you. – Hi everyone, my name
is Yasmine Kabude, I am a senior in the college. I study political
science and I’m also a board member with
Penn in Washington. So for the spring semester,
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,
I just wanted to work in government
generally so I talked to Dr. Martinez who again runs the Penn in Washington
program, and she just basically listed off a
whole range of places that she thought I should apply, from Brookings to Center
for American Progress to the Hill to
nonprofits, et cetera, and then I just
applied to all of them. Word of advice, cast a broad net because you never know
what’s gonna stick and more likely than
not, you’ll never hear from the place again once
you submit your application. So cast a wide net, even
in places that you don’t think that you’d be
interested in the work, you’d never know. And then for the
summer I knew I wanted to be on the Hill, because
of my work at Impact which is where I was
at in the spring. I knew I wanted to
get a better sense of what the Hill was
like because I was a legislative intern there,
so then I just started applying to any Hill
office that I had a connection to, so
I am from Nevada. So I applied to
our, who was then our newly elected senator,
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto who had just came to the senate. And I applied to some
House offices as well, as well as Bob Casey’s
office who’s the senator from Pennsylvania, and
some local House offices from Pennsylvania as well. – My name is Depak Kumar. I’m a junior here at
Penn studying management, specifically entrepreneurship
and operations. Last summer, I
interned in the office of Congressman Devin Nunes. He was from the 22nd
District of California which is where I’m
from, so I interned with my own Congressman. I really relied on
the PPI job board and that’s something that the
Penn Public Policy Initiative puts out that has
about 20, 30 jobs at any given time
throughout the semester and I looked for various
opportunities there. I think a really neat
thing about D.C. is that if there’s anything
that you can think of that you’d like to
work on, any issue, any specific topic, then
you can probably find an organization that’s dedicated
to that topic or issue. So for me, like I
really always thought that government and the
legislative branch itself was super interesting,
which is why I just simply went to
my Congressman’s website after having searched
for various opportunities and I noticed that
the application was
open and available and so I applied
right then and there, and I think that
that’s very important because you’re not gonna
get like notifications for when a lot of
things are open and so it’s important to
like set groundwork now and kind of search and see
when opportunities are online so that way when they’re
opening up, you’re prepared. Except that the last,
there was a few situations where I’m like oh, I wish
I could’ve applied to that but the application
had been closed. My job ranged from
everything from doing legislative research for
my Congressman and staff to making coffee, and
I think that that’s a really important
thing to consider when working on
the Hill, is yeah, I think we all go
to a great school and that school has reputation but on the Hill you
have to earn your keep and I definitely think
that it’s really important to do the small jobs well
so that way you gain trust and are able to work on
bigger and bigger projects the longer time
that you’re there, and so from starting off
and just learning how to answer the phone, which
is actually super stressful I think initially because
people can be very passionate when they call their
Congressman’s office. Oh, I’ve got some stories. But to even being able
to have an influence on some legislation
that was being debated on the House floor, we
really ran the entire gamut of experiences, but
I think doing that just gave me a real
appreciation for not only the people that work in
Congress but all the people that help them on staff,
and I think having that firsthand
experience was just like really important for me. – Hi everyone, I’m Omar Korray, I’m a junior in the
college studying Middle Eastern
History and English. Over the past summer I interned at Center for Strategic
International Studies, or CSIS at the Human Rights
Initiative there. Beginning in terms of
finding my internship, I started exactly where
you guys are last year in that I came to an
info session by PPI so just by virtue of
you all being here, you’re already ahead of
the curve in that sense. If I could boil it
down to two things, it’s just, take the
initiative yourself in terms of do the research,
and the second thing is, use the connections
you have at Penn and not even at Penn, just
the connections you have outside of Penn as well
to sort of begin searching for a place you’d
like to intern for. And the whole process of
applying to internships is pretty daunting but
if you just divide it into one application every few,
whatever your time spent is, just make it seem much
smaller than the reality that it is, I
recommend doing that. That’s sort of how I
decided to, or that’s how I was able to apply
to my internships is just take it
one step at a time. – Hi everyone, my name is Julia. I’m a junior, I’m studying
cognitive science and economics. I’m also getting a
certificate in innovation and technology policy. When I was in D.C. the
past summer, I was working at the Federal Trade Commission
within the Consumer Bureau, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and I was a paralegal there. Being a paralegal
at a federal agency, it was kind of structured
so essentially lawyers who would put in
requests to my supervisor for some help they
needed on a project so that ranges from
redacting documents, which was literally just
taking out a black marker on the personal,
sensitive information, to taking consumer
complaint calls. But also I was able
to take advantage of just the FTC’s resources. As an intern, we were able
to help at conferences, we had a connected
cars conference, a big data conference,
the FTC is usually known as the government’s
privacy watchdog. And another thing I wanna
advocate is my supervisor was also very supportive
of if I ever wanted to go to a conference
at a think tank, so I was able to go to
Brookings and meet Tim Kaine, I went to like a Google
event, that was Google and the White House Asian
American Initiative, and network with important
Asian Americans in D.C. And I think just
being in D.C. and also the Penn in Washington,
every single week you’re able to meet
with alumni, so I met with an Atlantic editor,
I met with a CIA agent. I think just being in
D.C. helps you understand your career path much more,
just with much more nuance and what you really want to do ’cause I think a lot of
times I almost thought the law school was a catch
all, but then I realized that there’s just so
many other career paths within D.C. and outside of
D.C. that you can follow.

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