Every Experience is Different

Every Experience is Different

Before I came to DC with The Washington Center I had no idea what internships would be available to me. I thought I would ask a few of my friends to tell you all a little about their internships this semester so you can get a feel for the variety of options and experiences. I asked them each to list their school, favorite thing about DC so far, and a few sentences about their internship.


Each experience here is completely different: from the classes we take to the things we do on the weekend. Some people love their internships right away, some take time to adjust, and others don't feel as though it's right for them. I can't promise that every aspect of your time here will be perfect, but I can promise that you will get out of this experience what you put into it. If you are determined to find some good in your work and explore the city, you will have fun and learn a lot. Even if your internship isn't exactly what you expected or wanted, you can still learn from that experience.


Nine of my friends agreed to help me with this blog and I will of course post about my own internship, too. Hopefully what we have to say will give you a little more information on the program and just a few of the options available here at TWC.


My Internship!

School: Emerson College

Internship: Department of Education Office of Civil Rights


I was lucky enough to land an internship that fits exactly what I am hoping to do after I graduate. I work on cases of discrimination based on race, gender, and disability within education. The office takes complaints, determines whether or not we have jurisdiction, investigates relevant cases, and determines appropriate resolutions either for the specific complaint or district-wide. As an intern, I work on a variety of cases. Of course I do some copying and note-taking, but most of the time I am doing significant, substantive work. I review cases, sit in on meetings, draft letters, and I am constantly learning from the other people in my office. Of course my internship isn't perfect, there are days I don't feel like I am doing as much as I am capable of or I get tired of sitting in a cubicle but those are the times I make myself seek out more work or remind myself of the importance of what I am doing. Overall, I love my internship.


Favorite thing about DC: There is ALWAYS something to do, and 9 times out of 10 it is free. The Smithsonians are all free, the festivals are free, walking the National Mall is free, and exploring the city is free. It is definitely possible to enjoy this city without spending a ton of money.


My Friends' Internships!


Rachel Wallach

School: Emerson College

Internship: Alexandria Office for the Arts


Coming into The Washington Center, I think it's important to have realistic expectations for your internship. I didn't. As the gallery intern at the Alexandria Office for the Arts, I thought my days would be spent curating marvelous exhibitions of professional artwork in large, pristine galleries. In real life, I work in a community center and spend most of my time answering emails and occasionally hanging local artwork in public spaces, like City Hall. But I have found parts of the job I enjoy and I've met many excellent people here. In the end I think this semester will prove very beneficial to me. I just wish I'd been more clear-headed coming in- that way I might have avoided the disappointment of my first few days here and seen that the Office actually has a lot to offer me.


Favorite thing about DC: Nellie's Sports Bar, particularly the Drag Brunch. Brunch was expensive ($22 before drinks) but very worth it! The food was delicious and all-you-can-eat, and the queens not only put on a show but mingled with the guests. I chatted with a few of them and they all wanted to pose for pictures. They were delightful.


Di Cui

School: Fudan University in Shanghai, China

Internship: Voice of America under Broadcasting Board of Governors


I have to be in the office by 7ish to help with the 9am live TV show Issues and Opinions. I basically take phone calls for the show and check graphics and chyrons before the show. Sometimes I have to take care of a congressman's car, which is kind of silly but I did have to do that yesterday. I also do some translation work and voice acting in Mandarin and I write a set-up piece.


Favorite thing about DC: Hanging out with my roommates and new friends I met here!


Ilse Schooneknaep

School: University of Brussels in Belgium

Internship: Double R Productions


Media has been my point of interest since I was a teenager, everything that has to do with broadcasting, film, and public relations fascinates me. In order to recieve my masters in Media and Communications I have to do an internship. Through TWC I got in touch with the owner and CEO of the company Double R Production. The complany specializes in film, television, and media/web production. Public Service Announcements, non-profit, video news releases and commercials are just some of the projects. The interns get a hands on experience and can participate in every part of the productions process. We provide all the information necessary for someone who wants to work in media and production.


Favorite thing about DC: I eat only gluten and dairy free foods, so I love the fact that restaurants and shops have my gluten free stuff. I also really like all the monuments!


Britni Ashkinazy

School: Emerson College

Internship: The Peace Corps.


I chose to intern with the Peace Corps. because I hope to one day serve for them and I belive in what they do. At my internship I work mainly on marketing materials. I have made a powerpoint for The Coverdell Fellows Program, which focuses on how return volunteers can go to grad. school at a reduced rate and other lifelong benefits from serving with the Corps. I also run our department's Facebook fan page, and am working on a  webinar presentation. I am really happy with my internship and the people that I get to work with every day.


Favorite thing about DC: Trying Ethiopian food at Meskerem in Adams Morgan.


Mike Cotrone

School: Stonehill College in Easton, MA

Internship: The Center for American Progress


I sever as a Social Media Intern for the External Affairs team at the Center. I run one of their main twitter hangles (@CAPAction) and complete various other team and organization-wide projects.


Favorite thing in DC: The festivals! H Street Festival, the Adams Morgan Festival, ZestFest in NoMa, and an arts festival in Chinatown. They are super fun and interesting, with different vendors, artists, local attractions, and tons of delicious food!


Sharon Coolen

School: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)

Internship: Merrill Lynch Wealth Management


At my internship I do a lot of research on the financial market and some reading about investments. I also took the Bloomberg training and I do a lot of projects for Financial Advisors.


Favorite thing in DC: The Frozen Yogurt Shops!!!


Jana Bens

School: University of Brussels in Belgium

Internship: Tech America Foundation


I chose the internship because I had to choose quickly for my visa, but it also sounded very interesting because they were the things I thought I wanted to do. I am working on the Market Focus Department of the foundation and we are organizing an event to present all of the research from the past 10 years. I am helping to present, making brochures, and phoning people. It is a good internship and I am learning a lot, but it isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life.


Favorite thing about DC: The city is very clean and you have the feeling of space because the streets are very wide. There are lots of different things to do!


Stefan Freeman

School: Westfield State University

Internship: Development intern at Mobilize.org


The function of my internship site is to "improve the way democracy works by investing in Millenial-driven solutions". So far my time in DC has been really great. My internship is a lot of fun and I'm learning so many things that I know will help me later on in my professional career. As a development intern I deal mostly with how the organization can get money. So I do a lot of research on where an how to obtain grants. Mobilize.org is also letting the interns put on our own fundraiser of any kind. As of now we plan on doing a pub-crawl that I'm sure will be a lot of fun. We also have a mobilizers guidebook that is given out in order to help Millennials improve their communities and their campuses, as well as become more engaged in the political process. I am lucky enough to be able to help rewrite it. So it is great knowing they are going to be using something important that I helped create for many years to come.


Favorite thing about DC: Riding around on my bike. I'm really glad I brought it because DC is such a bicycle friendly city and biking allows me to see so many things around the city that I may have missed otherwise.


Becky Watkins

School: University of North Florida

Internship: Save the Children


I picked this internship because it's a NGO and I thought that would be a good segway into working in international relations, which is my major. I am a public affairs and communication intern so I put together daily media reports, I do research, make press releases, and I go to conferences. One of the conferences I've been to was about health workers and how important it is to have health workers in rural and developing areas. It is a great experience that is teaching me how NGOs work internationally but I would really love to take what I have learned here and work out in the field.


Favorite thing about DC: Eastern Market and my friends!




Hopefully this entry has given you a better feel for the variety of options (and students) here at TWC. Please feel free to comment if you have questions about any of the internships or experiences!

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