Summer DOT Interns Complete Internships

Summer DOT Interns Complete Internships

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Christian Holm
August 31, 2015

The Washington Center’s Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups (STIPDG), a longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), closed its 2015 session on Aug. 14 with a celebration at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


STIPDG is an intensive, highly selective 10-week internship program at the DOT that trains students with diverse backgrounds for careers in transportation. Rather than bringing interns to Washington for a semester, like TWC’s traditional program, students intern in cities as far east as Boston and as far west as Seattle to. The nearly 100 students do spend a few days in the nation’s capital during the final week of the program, taking part in professional development workshops, site visits and team-building activities.


One of those students was Manuel Morales, from Amherst College in Massachusetts. Morales credited his STIPDG experience with clarifying his career path and adding an impressive line to his resume.


“I had the opportunity to intern in a part of the country that I’ve never seen and I really took advantage of that,” said Morales, who interned in Fort Worth, Texas. “I met a lot of different people and took the time to travel around the region and learn from other peoples experiences. In order to effectively serve others, I think it’s important to understand people in the community and empathize with their perspectives.”


For Kayla Hyatt, a student at the University of Maryland who interned in Washington, D.C., STIPDG presented the biggest challenge she has faced in her young professional career. She urged future interns in the program to always take the initiative to acquire more opportunities.


“If I could go back … I would tell myself to ask for more projects at the outset of my internship,” she said.  “Halfway through my internship I got involved in every project I could get my hands on and it really enhanced my overall experience. I wish I had done that from the beginning so that I could have made an even greater impact.”


Tanisha Edwards, a first-year law student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who interned in San Francisco, Calif., described the pressure she felt when to carrying out huge projects that impact millions of citizens.


“I worked on million-dollar contracts, sat in planning meetings and conducted legal research that helped my internship site make crucial decisions. I never would have been gained this kind of experience outside of a structured, rigorous program like STIPDG,” she said. “I also think that my unique skill set and background gave my internship site a lot of return on their investment.”


TWC and DOT have partnered to manage STIPDG for seven years. STIPDG is one of the most competitive internship programs in the country, placing a highly qualified and diverse cohort of students in DOT internships across the United States to cultivate the next generation of transportation professionals.

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