We have invited MPA student Lauren Fischer to write about her internship at a federal agency this summer:
When I began the MPA program here at John Jay last fall, one of the first things on my agenda was to get an internship. Not only is it a great resume builder, but an excellent opportunity to test the waters of an agency you are interested in to see if it would in fact be a good fit for you. I always had a particular federal agency in mind, so I set my sights on that.
Having come through on the other side, I could not imagine a better way to fill my summer. Getting the hands on, everyday experience of full-time work was something I didn’t have before. Additionally, the contacts I made at this agency have already proved worthwhile. Furthermore, I utilized the opportunity of this internship to fulfill a requirement for school at the same time. Taking PAD 780 (fieldwork) simultaneously took some stress off of my fall semester with one less class to worry about, but also gave me a forum on which to talk to other PAD students about their experiences and really put my summer internship into better perspective.
Some general tips on finding an internship that I feel would be beneficial for students to know:
1) Start early! The process of applying and finding internships can be daunting, so get started early so you are not crunched for time. Also, certain agencies may require background checks, so you don’t want to be cutting it too close.
2) Utilizing the MPA career services. They can assist you with reviewing your resume, making the right contacts, and the whole process of finding an internship that fits you. The emails they send are really helpful and full of opportunities.
3) Aim high. If there is an internship you have always wanted but don’t know if you could get it, try! That’s what happened to me, and I was very glad I went for it. The process of applying is not unlike applying to college: put out a wide net and see what sticks.
Please join us next Wednesday, October 3rd from 5-6:30 PM for a Graduate PAD 780 Spring Academic Internship Pre-Registration Session at the Center for Career & Professional Development, L 72 if you are interested in earning 3 academic credits for a spring semester internship. Professor Maria D’Agostino, professor for the course, will share an overview of the course and we will discuss a variety of possible internship sites.