The Interns Go to Washington

Students gather at Duke in DC to hear internship advice from a panel of area alumni.

Students gather at Duke in DC to hear internship advice from a panel of area alumni.

Each summer, dozens of Duke undergraduate and graduate students head to Washington, D.C. for a chance to complement their academic classes with real-world experience through internships with government agencies, non-profits or D.C. firms. The students also have the opportunity to experience the Duke community first-hand, with networking events like a recent panel on  how to make the most of their internships taking place throughout the summer.

Name: Himanshi Jain
Year: Second Year, Masters of Public Policy
World Bank, Social and Labor Division

What have you learned through your internship?
At the World Bank, I am researching on disability insurance across Europe. While working on this project I realized that one can learn country specific information only through building relationships with the stakeholders in these countries. It is important to remember that policy is always connected to people. Analyzing policy would first entail understanding what is written in the law and then evaluating it’s implementation on the ground. The people who best understand the gap between the law and the implementation are those who work with the policies day-to-day, the stakeholders.

Name: Hunter Buckworth
Year: Second Year, Masters of Public Policy
Internship: Office of Budget and Management

How did your classes prepare you for your internship experience?
The networking and relationship building skills that Sanford helps us build have helped me get to know and work easily with those in my office and throughout the agency. When my supervisor gives me a task to manage, the writing and speaking skills I’ve developed at Sanford help me to jump in with confidence to contact the staff members I need to to complete the task. That’s been really helpful, especially as the OMB has been a flatter organization than I expected. Everyone is open to hearing opinions, which is a great opportunity as an intern.

James Hwang
Year: Sophomore, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Internship: Broad Institute

What’s surprised you during your internship experience?
At the internship panel, I met an alumnus who worked on passing the law I’m now analyzing for my internship. It wasn’t a conversation I was expecting to have, but it took the work I was doing — trying to find ways to improve the law as implemented — from being theoretical to being a real-life experience. He let me know that he was open to further conversations about the policy if I had questions. So the conversation was a reminder of what type of Duke alum’s are in the area, one’s that have great experience, but are also willing to to be a resource to current students.

Name: Jazmin Harper
Year: Second Year, Masters of Public Policy
Internship: Federal Reserve, Community and Consumer Affairs Division

How will this internship influence your approach to your second year at Sanford?
At my job, I’ve been taking initiative and being proactive in looking for projects and jobs through which I can help the office. It makes excited to return to Durham and take a look at local non-profits, see what kind of projects they’re working on and how I can help. Sanford is great at connecting students to the community and I’m looking forward to taking even better advantage of that in my second year.