Summer DC Internship Information Session Overview
January 18, 2017
The featured student panelists were Emily Zhen, who spent her Freshman summer at the Department of the Treasury, Shane Murphy, who interned during his Sophomore summer at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Taylor Becker, a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Executive Council at Penn who spent his Junior summer as an Honors Paralegal Intern at the Federal Trade Commission.
Andrew Coopersmith, the Managing Director of Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI), began with a few words, encouraging students to explore “opportunities across the political spectrum. If you are interested in public policy and doing good, there is an office in DC for you.” He added that the job hunt in DC is “anti-OCR” in that most organizations in DC are just getting started with summer hiring, in contrast to OCR’s early fall deadlines. It is important that students are pro-active. A good starting point is Penn Wharton PPI’s job board and listserv, where weekly digests of new opportunities in DC are sent out every Monday. These online tools, along with alumni networking resources and resume prep will make the internship search more fruitful.
Since many DC internships are unpaid, Penn Wharton PPI offers funding of up to $500 per week for Undergraduate students and up to $1000 per week for Graduate students. Last year, over 100 students received funding. To learn more about the experiences of former interns check-out the student blog posts and intern profiles.
A representative from Career Services highlighted the recommended resources and listservs available to students. (Please see below for more information.) Additionally, many upcoming career fairs are available for students to connect with future employers.
Emily began the panel speaking about her position at Treasury, under the Assistant Secretary of Management. As an internal consultant for the Department of Treasury, she worked to help the organization manage their budget and determine more efficient operations. Daily, she conducted research, created reports, and had many meetings in small teams of 5-6. Other projects she worked on included conducting surveys of public opinion on the design of the new $10 bill and ensuring that Treasury-wide data was accurate for decision making by analyzing over 100 performance measures. Emily was glad for the opportunity to work in consulting while merging her interests in business and policy.
Shane spoke about his summer at the SEC, reminding students that the “impact of personal relationships on legislative process” is strong and that there is “no more important time to get involved in politics.” He worked in the Division of Economic Risk Analysis, where he conducted risk benefit analysis of different SEC rules and regulations. Using Python, R, and other coding languages, he was able to help the organization analyze the impact legislations like Dodd-Frank had on the financial sector. He was glad for the opportunity to work in an organization focused on non-partisan analysis on more quantitative, statistical and economic based projects.
Taylor has a background working for political non-profits, campaigns, Governors and Senators, and his strong interest in policy led him to work for the FTC, the executive federal agency responsible for regulating mergers and dealing with anti-trust concerns. At the nexus of policy, law and industry, Taylor worked as an Honors Paralegal Intern, assisting an actual paralegal and working with attorneys on a daily basis. In case teams ranging from 5 to 50 attorneys, he worked with legal software to research cases and become an expert in different industries to better inform his team.
All three students agreed that the Penn Wharton PPI Job Board was one of the best ways to find employment opportunities, especially since many of those positions are available exclusively for Penn students. Additionally, networking is critical to finding opportunities. Each student emphasized the importance of cold emailing alumni found via LinkedIn and QuakerNet, where you can find contact information by searching by company, occupation, or industry. Most importantly, USAJobs.gov is the principal gateway by which government jobs are found. The students encouraged others to cast a wide net and always be on the lookout for connections within your network.
Shane, Emily and Taylor spoke about their summers in DC with pride and excitement, especially about the Penn Wharton PPI programming and Penn in Washington events and conferences available for them to attend during the summer. Ranging from small invitational networking events, like meeting the New York Times’ economic correspondent, to visiting the White House with the President’s economic policy advisers, to watching Democrats vs. Republicans play in the annual Congressional baseball game, students are able to make the most of their summer in our nation’s capitol.
Penn Wharton PPI Funding
Open to both Undergraduate and Graduate students from any degree program at Penn. Receive up to $500/week (UG) or up to $1000/week (GRAD) for up to 12 weeks!
Positions funded in 2016 include Executive Branch Agencies, Independent Federal Agencies, Public Policy Think Tanks, The White House, The World Bank, Congressional Committees and Offices.
Funding applications will be reviewed in 3 rounds. Deadlines are February 28th, March 31st, and May 1st.
For Additional Information
Career Services Resources
- Common Good Listserv – an open forum where the Penn community can share information about events, opportunities, and resources related to nonprofit, government, policy, public interest and other common good related careers. To subscribe, send an email from your Penn account to email@example.com with this text in the body of the email: SUBscribe CommonGoodCareers
- Videos, helpful links, and career advice on government and policy related careers can be found on the VPUL Career Services website