Taylor Becker, a political science student in the College, was presented with a unique opportunity this summer when he worked in the Honors Paralegal Program of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission. Becker received great exposure to case work that gave him great insights as he considers applying to law school at some point in the future. With the aid of funding from Penn Wharton PPI, Becker was able to further pursue his career goals while experiencing all that DC has to offer.
What areas of public policy interest you?
I’m interested in the intersection of the free market and economics, and how the government works to protect the American consumer.
What is the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
The first thing I do is log into my server and check emails. It’s kind of a stressful thing, actually, because I can’t check my email when I’m not at work. You only can if you’re on a government device, so it’s a point of stress because I always want to know what my assignments are. It can be a good thing, though, because it’s illegal for me to do work once I leave for the day.
What does a typical day in DC look like for you?
At work, I get a cup of coffee, check my email, and make a list of my assignments for the day. I’ll often meet with my case team for one of my assignments. We might have interviews with people regarding an investigation, which I might write up a report for. Otherwise, my attorneys will send me assignments that I complete as I get them. After work, I go for a run every day. I live near the Capitol, so my favorite routes are to the Lincoln memorial or the Washington Monument. I never get tired of running along the Mall. I’m stuck in the office all day, so running is my way of immersing myself in all of the city’s history. I’m also working on a few different personal projects, so I spend a lot of time working on those. And of course, in DC, happy hour is a very popular thing, so sometimes I do that after work and push my run back a little later in the evening.
Have there been any surprises regarding living and working as an intern in DC?
Not necessarily a surprise, but an observation: I like how many young people are here during the summer. It’s really fun to be around so many forward-thinking young people.
Name one object that you brought with you to DC that reflects your personality.
I actually brought so much stuff to DC that that in itself should be my answer. I brought four suitcases full of stuff. Why? I’m not sure. I try to be so cautious and plan ahead so much that I take anything I might need.
In 30 years, what will you remember about living and working in DC?
There’s something really valuable about being independent for a summer. It teaches you a lot about yourself, because you have free time, which I don’t have a lot of during the school year, and it gives you insight into what postgrad life might be like.