Record number of students landed D.C. summer internships

Leslie Ovalle ’18 working at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Leslie Ovalle ’18 working at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

As summer came to a close, FIU in D.C. bid farewell to a record-breaking number of interns.
Sixty-three students from across the university spent their summer living and working in Washington, D.C. They worked in various organizations and federal agencies, including the Department of CommerceDepartment of EnergyBooz Allen Hamilton and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

“It’s awesome to have FIU’s support here, not only do they support their students, but there are supportive alumni that connect with you while you’re here. It’s been an amazing experience,” says Nikkita Nair, a graduate student interning at the Department of Commerce.

FIU is committed to the success of its students by creating learning-and-earning based opportunities. One such group to take advantage of this, was the students from the College of Communication, Architecture & The Arts (CARTA). The students benefited from a stipend that allowed them to make the move and come work in D.C.
FIU in D.C. is dedicated to building students’ professional networks by partnering with key influencers and alumni in the area. The programming provides students with meaningful experiential and academic value by creating an environment that fosters student success, professional development and access to national changemakers.
Upon arrival in June, students were welcomed to a dinner orientation keynoted by alumnus Manny Diaz, former mayor of the City of Miami. Meetings and interactions with prominent figures are not uncommon in the nation’s capital. This summer alone, FIU students met with Carlos Trujillo, U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS); Eliot Pedrosa, U.S. alternate executive director at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); and Pete Marocco, deputy assistant secretary and senior bureau official for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) at the U.S Department of State. Students also visited the State Department, White House, U.S. Supreme Court, the Pentagon and several other federal agencies and organizations.
A variety of events have allowed for an overall enriching experience for this cohort. Events this summer included Politico’s Playbook Interview with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and The Hill Latina Leaders Summit with speakers such as ‏Helen Aguirre Ferré, former White House director of media affairs; U.S. Rep. Norma Torres; and Monica Gil, executive vice president of NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Enterprises. Students were also able to experience the Florida House’s 23rd Annual Summer Intern Seminar Series, where attendees heard from U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as well as U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn, John Rutherford and Charlie Crist.

Summer 2018 student interns on the rooftop of FIU in D.C.
Summer 2018 student interns on the rooftop of FIU in D.C.

“As a student of broadcast journalism and political science, there is no better place to be. I’ve been able to attend events not just at FIU in D.C., but also here at the Capitol. It’s not uncommon to run into various Congress people and nationally recognized journalists,” says Leo Cosio ’19, broadcast media major interning at the Library of Congress.

Students have also been staying on top of their studies. Many interns who were placed through The Washington Center have been taking classes through their program. Others partook in the academic courses offered through CARTA and the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
CARTA courses included speakers from Congress, commerce and the business sector. SIPA’s Effective Governmental Communication course taught by Professor Brian Fonseca, director of FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute, brought in key political figures from different areas to speak to students. Speakers included former Rep. Patrick Murphy and recently appointed U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Adrienne Ross.

“In D.C., the ultimate players are here. So you really learn what it takes to conduct yourself, what it takes to network and present your skills to other people,” says Keenan Thompson ’19, Effective Governmental Communication student interning at CentroNía.

This summer also has been jam packed with extracurricular activities. From bowling at the White House to celebrating at the Italian Embassy Gala, students embraced everything D.C. has to offer such as dining out, exploring museums and enjoying the fireworks on the 4th of July from the National Mall.

“Overall, I really couldn’t recommend spending the summer in D.C. enough. It’s been so much fun getting to meet other FIU students up here, getting to take the train after class, going out for a night on the town. It’s been incredible. So ,if you’re even thinking about doing it, I would really recommend you look into it,” says Collin Hoban ’19, political science major interning at Grant Thornton.

The summer wrapped up with the third annual D.C. Panther Network BBQ on July 29, where students connected with alumni as well as met incoming FIU students from the D.C. area.
By Paula Franco
This post “Record number of students landed D.C. summer internships” was originally published on FIU News.