American Association for the Advancement of Science
I worked with the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility, & Law (SFRL) program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC. AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society, is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world. The SFRL program, a part of the broader Science and Public Policy Department, explores the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with the conduct of research and with advances in science and technology.
As an SFRL intern, I explored topics related to personalized medicine in psychiatry and scientific integrity. As part of my research, I helped identify emerging ethical and regulatory issues in psychiatric research and contributed to workshop development.
In separate projects, I examined ethical and policy issues in synthetic biology and contributed to the development of a science advocacy database. I also wrote news articles for AAAS’s quarterly newsletter, the Professional Ethics Report. In addition to my research, I was fortunate to attend a congressional hearing on synthetic biology and other professional and federal science policy meetings in DC. One particularly interesting event was the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues’ first public meeting on synthetic biology.
The internship was a great opportunity to explore the intersection of science and public policy, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in science policy.
American Enterprise Institute
I interned at the American Enterprise Institute, a leading public-policy think tank in Washington, DC. I worked with an economist in the international economics division doing trade policy research. My primary task was to act as a research assistant of sorts for my scholar. I assisted in a wide variety of projects. I helped update facts and figures in a forthcoming book about US-China trade. I also helped him edit an undergraduate textbook due to be published sometime this fall. I also was asked to do two larger projects. The first was to evaluate the changes and future directions in trade policy in the European Union due to the recent ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. My second large project was to study and track institutional changes in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998. It was an excellent learning experience because I was not merely fact gathering, I was making evaluations, recommendations, and drawing conclusions. I was also able to attend a number of conferences and talks by leading public figures both at AEI and elsewhere in Washington DC. Overall it was an excellent internship. I hope to work in trade/international economics someday in a professional capacity.
Chicago’s Federal Courthouse
My summer was a mix of being a fly on the wall and doing research in Chicago’s federal courthouse. I sat in on simple motion hearings, full jury trials, and appellate oral arguments. After some of the hearings, the judge allowed me to ask follow up questions on the laws and policies at issue. One of the best experiences was sitting in on settlement conferences, where the parties resolved their lawsuits outside of the courtroom but mediated by the judge. It was interesting to watch how the personalities interacted and examine how the judge, through intelligent questioning and clear ground rules, established the required trust and respect from the parties to resolve – successfully – the conflicts.
As an intern I also researched and wrote memoranda for the judge. The judge gave feedback that helped improve my writing and research skills. The experience exposed me to the level of writing and research that federal judges expect. On several projects I was unable to find clear answers to his questions, which required further analysis through comparing similar types of law. The practice was invaluable in developing my skill in legal reasoning and improving clarity in my writing.
I can’t conclude a description of my summer without mentioning former governor Rod Blagojevich, who was on trial in the building. I also sat in on prosecution and conviction of a former Chicago police commander for lying about the torture of forced confessions of prisoners and a former water and sanitation director for illegally hiring political activists into career civil positions in government. As a spectator in court, it was an interesting look at public management!
Concentric Energy Advisors
Concentric Energy Advisors (herein referred to as Concentric) is a management consulting and financial advisory firm primarily focused on the North American energy and water industries. Concentric provides strategic consulting, financial advisory services, management, and regulatory and litigation consulting services to the electric, gas and water industries. The major services provided by Concentric includes ratemaking, resource planning, market assessment, federal and ftate regulatory practices and policies, mergers and acquisitions of utility assets, due diligence, asset valuation and energy industry restructuring.
As an intern at Concentric for a short period of three months, I was primarily engaged in two projects. In the first project, Concentric was involved in providing rebuttal and surebuttal testimony to concerns raised by a state's public service commission staff regarding the shared services provided by the holding company to our client, a regulated electric and gas utility. I helped create a macro-driven excel- based model that compared our client with its peers in the United States. The main purpose of this benchmarking assignment was to assess if the regulated subsidiary was cross-subsidizing other non-regulated subsidiaries. Another major project that I was extensively involved in this summer was the Allocated Class Cost of Service Study (ACCOS) for a regulated utility. My primary role in this assignment entailed data collection, model updating, and auditing of the ACCOS model. Apart from these two projects, I was also involved in providing research support, data collection and analysis, financial modeling, and testimony preparation on various other ongoing assignments that Concentric was involved in.
Education Pioneers, Oakland, California
I spent the summer of 2010 as an Education Pioneers Fellow. Education Pioneers is a national nonprofit organization that recruits graduate students from a range of academic and professional backgrounds—particularly education, law, policy, and business—to work on mission-critical projects with urban education reform organizations.
During my Fellowship, I implemented a Diversity Strategy Assessment that included an organization-wide survey and almost 50 interviews with staff, external experts, alumni, Fellows, and consultants. Based on analysis of this data, I presented findings and recommendations that are the beginning of a diversity action plan that will help the organization confront the internal and external implications of race and class, each of which contributes to the maintenance of an opportunity gap for students and for adults. Through this diversity action plan, Education Pioneers will align its values and beliefs with activities and priorities across the organization—from marketing and communications to staff development to recruitment and selection for the Fellowship.
My personal commitment to equity and access in education along with my professional background in project management, professional and organizational development, recruitment, and qualitative research uniquely positioned me to push the organization’s thinking on engaging a truly diverse network of educational leaders. The outcomes of this research will help guarantee that by 2020, the more than 10,000 Education Pioneers alumni who have (re)committed themselves to urban education reform will both reflect, and be prepared to respond to the needs of, urban students and communities.
Global Ventures Division of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce
As an analyst for the Global Ventures Division of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, I was expected to research people, companies, and business sectors. The information would go toward preparing high level government officials for meetings; in some cases the research was used to determine whether or not to take the meeting in the first place. Long term research was balanced with short term, time sensitive tasks. Meetings and trade missions were planned long term in cities such as Chicago and Washington DC, and short term in the form of informal meetings that took place at the Commerce building. I routinely coordinated my efforts with other divisions inside the Commerce building, including the departments of Tourism and Business Development.
Governor’s Office Legislative and Policy Department
As an intern in the Governor’s Office Legislative and Policy Department, I assist the staff in researching and assembling information for the Governor’s various policy meetings and initiatives. For each meeting the Governor attends – whether with a state department or business – our department provides a briefing for the Governor. The briefing is 1-2 pages and provides information on who is attending the meetings, the issues being discussed and key talking points relating to the Governor’s policy agenda. These briefings are a great place to use the policy analysis skills gained at La Follette, and are great examples of these analysis tools in practice. I also have a weekly phone shift that gives me exposure to the current issues on the minds of constituents and an opportunity to hear the concerns or support for these issues.
La Follette School of Public Affairs Faculty
My internship was unique in that it consisted of working on two very distinct projects facilitated by La Follette faculty. For one of the projects, I worked with Professor David Weimer (La Follette School) and Professor Aidan Vining (Simon Fraser University) researching live-donor kidney allocation and procurement policy. For the other, I worked with Professor Carolyn Heinrich and the Institute for Research on Poverty on implementation of a statewide child support debt reduction program based on the Families Forward program that was implemented in Racine County.
I found both of these projects satisfying in different ways. My project with Professor Weimer gave me a chance to hone my academic research skills as well as apply what I’ve learned about my policy analysis. Moreover, I gained a lot from the process of collaborating and trying to create a paper for publication. In my project with Professor Heinrich and IRP, I am on the front lines of the policy-making process, learning about the nuanced ways in which research, data, and politics interact. In this position, I have the opportunity to analyze data behind the scenes with researchers at IRP, but also work on the ground in implementation efforts with the State’s Bureau of Child Support and county child support agencies.
National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education
During the summer of 2010, I had an internship with the National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE). The work I did focused on policy that addressed the movement of freight goods and the infrastructure that supports such movements. The work at CFIRE is project based encompassing a wide range of possible research topics.
One of my primary projects for the summer was writing a paper for submission to the Transportation Research Board (TRB). This paper looked at the possibility of states along the North/West Passage Corridor creating or joining an existing multi-state compact for the issuance of Oversize/Overweight truck permits. This compact would entail multiple states to standardize the dimensions and processes involved with the movement of Oversize/Overweight movements. As the states currently differ in these areas, states would have to adjust some of their standards. In here lies the challenge of coming to an agreement among multiple parties on policy development and implementation.
Other work over the summer included projects and tasks of interest to a policy student. This work included the drafting of Letters of Interest to secure research funding, the creation of posters to be used at conferences, the development of presentations, assisting co-workers with their projects (especially on topics that I had done previous research on), and the opportunity to present research at a regional conference.
Office of Congressman Ron Kind (WI-03)
My internship with Congressman Kind offered me the opportunity to observe the policy making process at the national level during a very exciting period of time. In this position, I attended hearings and floor debates on important legislation, including financial regulatory reform and the oil spill response legislation. Immersion in this process has imparted to me a much deeper understanding of how policy is truly made in the United States Congress. I also participated in the Stennis Center Congressional Program for Interns, which involved weekly interactions with congressional staff, think tanks and lobbyists that were designed to better understand the numerous players in the policy making process.
My primary duties in Congressman Kind’s office involved maintaining day-to-day office operations. Several other interns and I were responsible for handling constituent contacts through emails, phone calls and mailings, office visitors and capitol tours. My secondary project was to provide direction for Congressman Kind on the future of American farm policy. Congressman Kind has worked extensively to modernize the farm support system and reduce the waste within. I worked closely with staff researching the various programs within the farm safety net, summarized past congressional testimony and attended committee hearings on farm policy. At the end of the summer I was able to provide policy recommendations to the congressman. The opportunity to view the daily whirlwind of activity on Capitol Hill has provided me with invaluable insights and connections that I intend to use in guiding me on my career path.
Pacific Economics Group
I interned at the Pacific Economics Group (PEG), Madison, which is a consulting company that provides services mostly for utility regulation. These services include economic analysis and statistical research to measure performances and compare them with others. There are different methods used to regulate utility companies. PEG specializes in Alternative Regulation, a broad term that includes the most common forms of regulation- Performance Based Regulation (PBR) and Revenue Decoupling. PEG also specializes in statistical benchmarking, an approach of using data to measure performance.
My responsibility included gathering data about utility companies from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Energy Information Administration, sector focused data warehouses, public regulatory commissions, department of labor, bureau of economic analysis, etc. The collected data was processed in statistical software called SST. This data was then used to calculate various performance indexes. For example, productivity index was calculated by dividing output quantity index by input quantity index. The data was also used to analyze trends in input cost, output quantity, number of customer, etc.
Working at PEG, I learned a lot about the utility companies. I learned about their operation and maintenance costs, reporting responsibilities to public service commission and government agencies, their standing and ranking according to various performance measures. I was able to see how performance based measures can suggest utilities to improve their performance.
I found the work at PEG very applicable and relevant to public utility and energy field. The work place was quiet and simple. The company is small and staffs were friendly. I enjoyed working there and would recommend the future Lafollette students to apply.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
My summer internship was with the Madison affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the largest breast cancer charity in the world. Every two years, the Komen National organization requires local affiliates submit a community profile that quantitatively and qualitatively details the needs of the community served. My position required me to collect basic demographic and population health data about South Central Wisconsin and write and edit the profile. My co-intern handed the collection of qualitative data. She ran focus groups, sending out surveys, and interviewing key people in the community. All of her work was then submitted to me for integration into the profile.
The contents of the profile are dictated by the National chapter. However, because individual affiliates encounter different programs, services, gaps, and barriers, they must set their own priorities. The goal of the interns, with input from the Madison affiliate’s Board of Directors, is to identify the particular needs of South Central Wisconsin and use those findings to set two-year priorities and objectives for the Madison affiliate.
My internship has been particularly enlightening for me as I have never before worked with an advocacy group. Komen is also unique in that it is not a direct service organization, but rather focuses on raising funds and providing grants to those who serve the community. I have learned a great deal about Wisconsin, breast cancer, health policy, and advocacy in my position with the Komen organization.
United Nations Inter-Agency Secretariat of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
In the summer of 2010, I had an extraordinary opportunity interning with the United Nations Inter-Agency Secretariat of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). My main duties evolve around providing administrative support to the World Disaster Reduction Campaign 2010-2011: Making Cities Resilient: “My City is Getting Ready”. I was involved in brainstorming and defining campaign strategies, building and maintaining campaign partnerships and monitoring partners’ activities, which include but not limited to UNEP, UN-HABITAT and World Bank. I also assisted with the organization and preparation of the Shanghai Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction, which is closely associated with the Shanghai Expo 2010 “Better Cities, Better Life”. My other tasks include drafting and translating invitation letters and official documents to engage government officials, high-profile civil society leaders and celebrities from across the globe into the campaign activities; compiling and analyzing information on worldwide urban disaster risk reduction initiatives and activities for the development of campaign related communication and information products; managed contents and compiled updates for the UNISDR campaign website, among others.
Generally speaking, I found my internship a very impressive and rewarding experience. The nature of this internship is well in line with my academic background and intellectual interests. Working under direct supervision of the deputy director, I had working contacts with a broad section of staff in this organization serving in a variety of different capacities. Despite the fact that UN interns are not considered formal staff members, I felt that I was treated in a very respectful and professional way. I had the opportunities to participate in all-staff meetings and retreat which aims at defining the future strategies and objectives of this organization; through daily interactions with people, I felt that the tasks I performed are very important to the successful launching of the campaign and my satisfactory working performance was greatly acknowledged and appreciated, which in return provides a sense of personal fulfillment. Subsequently, I felt fully integrated into the operation of this organization and gained great insights into UNISDR, its people and its work, and broadly speaking, the UN system at large.
I also enjoyed living in Geneva. Being the smallest of the world’s most international cities, it offers an eclectic mix of the world’s peoples and cultures. I enjoyed working with professionals with the highest competency representing the broadest nationalities and cultural backgrounds, as well as getting to know and befriending with an impressive group of young professionals from all over the world in a variety of different occasions. Located in the heart of Europe surrounded by picturesque landscapes consisting of mountains, lakes and vineyards, Genevans enjoy an abundance of weekend outing and day trip opportunities and one of the best public transportation networks in the world. Other major European hubs, such as Paris, Milan, and Berlin are within easy reach by the world’s best train system that Switzerland has to offer.
U.S. Army Reserve
My internship experience was collaboratively created between my supervisors and myself. I interned approximately 15 to 20 hours per week at the US Army Reserve unit in Dodgeville, Wisconsin: the 469th Engineer Company. My primary responsibility was to assist in planning for a potential deployment for a wartime mission. I was also tasked with helping to develop standard operating procedures that the organization would employ during training and deployment.
During this internship I experienced several challenges. First, less the ten percent of the assigned personnel work full-time. The rest of the personnel only attend drill weekends. Another major challenge was dramatic changes to key leadership personnel. The most influential change was with the position of Company Commander. The outgoing and incoming commanders were incredibly different in knowledge, skills, abilities, and leadership styles.
I received several learning and travel opportunities during my internship. I attended a course in Washington, DC about public relations and information technology. I also attended a Joint Assessment Conference at the US Army Reserve Command Headquarters where potentially deploying units planned the training, logistics, and administration necessary to meet federal requirements.
This experience provided a great opportunity for me to develop long-term and strategic planning skills, observe public managers who are responsible for more than 100 personnel and millions of dollars of equipment. I also had the opportunity to influence other managers and the culture of an organization about to execute its mission.
U.S. Government Accountability Office
Transparency in government is a relevant issue in U.S. policy. In the current economic and political climate this issue seems to be of much more relevance than ever before. The passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 includes an unprecedented level of transparency. As part of the ARRA, a website, Recovery.gov was established as a central information source for public use. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) maintains ongoing investigations of the outcomes associated with the Stimulus Bill including the level of transparency found within Recovery.gov. As an intern analyst with the GAO on a current transparency project, I summarized briefly how the unique characteristics of the GAO serves as a method of providing potential improvements to Recovery.gov and the overall transparency of the Recovery Act.
U.S. Government Accountability Office
During the summer of 2010, I served as an Analyst Intern for the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington D.C. Assigned to the Physical Infrastructure team, I collaborated with GAO policy analysts, economists, and statisticians to examine the effects of the railroad hours of service provisions (i.e., maximum work and minimum rest requirements for rail workers) in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). The analytical skills and team-based experiences I acquired during my first year at La Follette greatly enhanced my ability to make a strong contribution to the agency’s audit objectives.
To fulfill a core component of the bi-partisan request we received from the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, I was made responsible for my team’s examination of the federal role in monitoring and ensuring compliance with the new hours of service of requirements. This involved interviewing Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials, analyzing FRA inspection and enforcement data before and after legal changes, and reviewing pertinent legislation, regulations, and reports. I also contributed to our team’s analysis of the law’s financial and operational impacts on the industry by participating in site visits to railroads in Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Baltimore. The quantitative component of the internship was enriched through exposure to prominent fatigue scientists and internal debates over the potential use of a biomathematical model to measure the new law’s impact on rail worker safety.
The internship allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the operating practices of the federal government and the effects of federal regulations on both business and labor.
U.S. State Department at the Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium
I interned with the U.S. State Department at the Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Although Europe slows down during the summer holiday months, it was exciting to be in Brussels at a time when the full repercussions of the newly-adopted Lisbon Treaty were still being felt out.
As an intern in the Executive office I had the unique opportunity to attend a number of meetings with the Ambassador, including a meeting with a European Commissioner and the U.S. Ambassador at Large for Trafficking in Persons. I worked on two large projects during the summer. The first involved doing research and drafting an outline for a white paper on deepening relations between the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament. The second focused on labor trafficking. I did research and conducted interviews to gather information on what the EU is doing to combat labor trafficking, and how the U.S. can work with the EU on this topic. Before I leave Brussels I will write up my conclusions and send them out as a cable on the State Department intranet. This summer I was also able to work at the European Media Hub two mornings each week. I helped create a daily news report on topics important to Washington policymakers, gathering news from around Europe and looking for common themes in coverage of specific topics. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity this internship gave me to see the State Department and the EU up close, as well as all the foreign service officers and local staff I worked with in Brussels.
U.S. State Department in Tirana, Albania
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the State Department in Tirana, Albania. I was initially assigned to the Consular Section, but as the ten weeks went by I was also able to work with numerous other entities within the Department – this gave me a broad overview of the activities pursued by our nation’s diplomats abroad. My duties included, amongst other things, creating an outreach initiative to dispel misinformation about the Diversity Visa lottery program, compiling a comprehensive handbook for Consular employee operations, editing correspondence drafted by local national employees, attending town hall-style meetings with ICITAP (the organization tasked with overhauling the Albanian State Police), managing data and developing programs for the nascent Embassy conservation committee, and liaising with the Defense Attaché’s Office and the US Navy in coordination of salvage operations at the Albanian military port in Sarandë. I was also able to accompany the Ambassador to events on several occasions; the highlight of these opportunities was a visit to a Roma camp to raise awareness of their plight.
During the course of these activities, I was provided insight into the difficulties associated supporting a fledgling democracy. Although Albania has been a valuable partner in international affairs (especially in dealing with the Kosovo crisis and in supporting coalition efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan), its internal policies leave much to be desired. Corruption is rampant and political infighting is de rigeur; these issues hamper efforts at modernization and transparency, thereby perpetuating Albania’s status as one of the poorest, least-developed countries in Europe. The US has to walk a fine line between praising the country for its international efforts and pushing for progress within – it was interesting to watch this dynamic unfold over the summer.
As well as providing me with valuable work-related experience, the internship also afforded me the chance to immerse myself in Albanian culture. I was able to travel throughout much of the country and get a glimpse of the great diversity present in such a small nation.
Wisconsin Association of School Boards
Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) is a nonprofit organization that advances education in Wisconsin through support and advocacy for the state’s 425 local school boards. WASB offers local school districts and their governing school boards expertise in advocacy, governance, legal issues, policy creation, and communication. As an intern, I worked closely with the government relations team. The government relations office provides school board members with resources and information so they can advocate state legislative officials on behalf of their respective school districts.
My job this summer was to research and write short, one or two page issue papers highlighting relevant facts of education issues important to school board members that are likely to appear on the upcoming state legislative agenda. These papers will be distributed to both board members and legislators to help communicate educational needs in the state of Wisconsin. All of the issue papers I have written focus on the theme of innovation in public education mechanisms.
The programs I researched and wrote about include charter schools, virtual education, open enrollment, Milwaukee Parental Choice, and Youth Options. All of these programs have experienced increased enrollment in the past decade and represent innovative options when it comes to public education in Wisconsin.
Overall, this internship has been a great way to not only learn about the K-12 public education system in our state, but to learn more about the tools used in effective lobbying and the important role nonprofit organizations play in the legislative process.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
I was a TOPJobs intern with the Secretary’s Office (SO) at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. My duties included working in constituent relations by providing resources and answering questions that consumers had about health care reform, access to resources, and a variety of other concerns. I also worked closely with the legislative liaison, researching issues, writing summaries, and drafting responses to legislative requests. Other duties included tracking health care reform news clips and webinars and providing weekly updates. I was also given the opportunity to draft talking points for the Secretary on different topics and help create the briefing book for her 2010 Up North Tour. A few highlights of my experience included driving the Secretary to a conference and listening to her presentation, conducting an interview with the program evaluation team, experiencing the smoking ban take effect, and attending various meetings where I saw firsthand how health policy is implemented in Wisconsin.
My internship experience gave me a familiarity with Wisconsin’s BadgerCare, Family Care, FoodShare, and WIC programs as well as the latest news on health care reform. Through this experience, I learned to research WI Administrative Code, to write clear, concise one-page responses, and above all, I saw the challenges and opportunities of managing a giant organization like DHS and the level of cooperation and communication required between the different divisions. This was a very valuable and fun learning experience.
Everyone in the Secretary’s Office was incredibly friendly and helpful; I had great supervisors and mentors who included me on projects, answered any questions I had, and made me feel valued within the organization. I would highly recommend the TOPJobs internship at DHS to anyone interested in health policy or state government.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
This summer, I volunteered two days a week with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in the charter schools and the voucher programs.
At the start of my volunteer internship, I worked with charter schools. Most charter schools start with a community, parent, or teacher lead initiative. Then, an authorizing entity, such as a school district or the City of Milwaukee, enters into a contract with the initiators to form a charter school. This contract gives the charter schools flexibility within policies and procedures and the ability to use different curriculum, learning philosophies, or leadership structures in order to increase student achievement. My major job duty was to complete a legislative report on charter schools. I contacted school districts for data, completed a basic statistical analysis of the results, and composed the legislative report. By working on the report, I learned about charter school activity around the state as well as the differences in charter schools and the challenges that many face. I was also able to review contracts between the authorizers and the charter school as well as read charter school applications for federal grants.
Half way through the summer, I switched to the voucher program. The Milwaukee Parent Choice Program is an educational voucher program for the students in Milwaukee that attend "failing" schools. These students can take state tax dollars and use the money to pay tuition at a private school. Recent legislative mandates required the over 100 private schools who take voucher money to submit important policies and data. It was my job to read through these submissions, reviewing for missing or mistaken policies. As a former public school teacher and a believer in public schools, I left the internship with a better view of the program and what it means for the students.
Overall, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with two educational choice programs. I was able to hear about the challenges these state programs face and the strengths that each program offers in terms of increasing student achievement. I also greatly enjoyed working with the staff at DPI, making connections, and figuring out potential employment opportunities. Although I worked in multiple schools and programs, working for a governmental department was different - in good ways and bad. This experience has given me a clearer picture as to what I am passionate about and what opportunities I wan to pursue in the future.
Wisconsin Homeland Security Council, Assistant
Starting in August, I began serving as an intern for the Wisconsin Homeland Security Council. The Council is responsible for advising the Governor on homeland security issues and for coordinating state and local prevention and response efforts in case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. It meets once a month and consists of members from various state agencies.
As an intern for the council, I performed all of the administrative tasks associated with the monthly meetings, including taking minutes during the meetings. Attending the meetings was a valuable experience, as I witnessed homeland security issues being discussed by influential people from different agencies, and the steps that they were recommending to mitigate any threats against Wisconsin.
In addition to performing administrative tasks for the Council, I also worked on various topics related to emergency management for my supervisor. This included doing research, constructing PowerPoint presentations, and helping to write both an annual report for the Council, as well as a Final Report on the Council for the new governor.
This experience gave me a glimpse inside of state government, and what it is like to be part of a network that crosses the boundaries between state agencies. In addition, this internship served as a great means for networking, as I was in regular contact with representatives from multiple state agencies.
Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Program and Policy Analyst
During the fall semester, I was a program and policy analyst for the State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) in the Commissioner’s Unit. My general ongoing duties were primarily related to federal health care reform implementation, requiring me to stay abreast of law and policy changes, as well as trends in other states, and to keep agency leadership up to date on the issues. Specifically, I managed the agency’s application for a federal grant, and after receiving the grant award, helped coordinate the implementation of the grant program. I also worked on state policy issues, including two social and financial impact statements analyzing the effects of two new insurance coverage mandates. Additionally, I had the opportunity to observe the rulemaking process by staffing stakeholder subgroups for two administrative rules.
This internship has been a fantastic experience for me. It has given me the opportunity to apply concepts from the classroom and has provided me with valuable, practical, real-world experience. I gained insight into the workings of both state and federal government, working with key players on interesting and controversial issues of policy.
The work environment was friendly and supportive, and I had daily contact with top-level managers. I would highly recommend looking at OCI for a potential internship to any La Follette student interested in health or insurance policy, especially in light of the policy challenges OCI will be addressing related to health care reform implementation.
Wisconsin State Senate
As an intern this past summer for a Wisconsin State Senator Randy Hopper, I was able to gain valuable insight on how policy is developed as well as the consequences of it. Despite the legislature not being in session, there were a variety of topics including unemployment, smoking ban, road construction, school finance, and immigration reform that constituents contacted the office about. I attended presentations on issues such as border security and how new healthcare laws will be applied to Wisconsin. I researched the origins of bills and contacted state agencies to learn about implementation and details related. I feel this experience gave me a new prospective on the positive and negatives of state government and an increased enthusiasm to work as a public servant.