It’s been almost a year since I looked at an email notification on my phone with a subject that said “Congratulations! You have been selected.” I called my parents, cried a little (okay, a lot) and then ran to tell my roommates. The moment was filled with excitement, but soon after nervousness started to fill my thoughts. Would I be able to live in a new city all on my own for 10 weeks? Am I good enough to get an internship? Will I be homesick?
Luckily for me, SBS in DC had me covered! The summer internship program is so much more than an opportunity to live and work in the nation’s capital. Yes, they provide you with the resources to live in the city for the summer: but it’s also a chance to build a community among your cohort members, expand your interests, and explore what your career might look like. The program instilled in me a confidence that I am prepared to continue my career after graduation. So, after a successful summer in Washington D.C. I can confidently say that my worries about my legitimacy as a candidate, as an applicant, and as a capable and independent adult were completely unfounded.
This summer I worked at the League of Conservation Voters, which is an environmental nonprofit that works to elect pro-environment candidates and hold them accountable. I was working as a Data & Evaluation Intern. My day-to-day tasks included data cleanup, producing reports for LCV’s state affiliates, and other research tasks. I also worked on a capstone project throughout the course of my internship, which assessed the effectiveness of an advertisement campaign LCV ran in 2020.
One of the best parts of my internship experience was being able to commute into LCV’s Washington D.C. office, especially in the midst of political turmoil. Being in D.C. and living one block from the Supreme Court and two blocks from the Capitol building made events like the Supreme Court decision on Roe v Wade and passing of The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) through Congress all the more real. The day the IRA passed, which included the most significant climate action in United States history, was a historic day for LCV, which had been working to get the legislation passed.
There was something extremely comforting about having my finger on the pulse of our democracy this summer. I often remarked to my coworkers that there was such a discrepancy between how the news portrayed life in D.C. and how D.C. actually felt. All the turmoil, protest and inaction I saw when I turned on the news was in direct contrast to the calm and control of the city. My proximity to the political happenings of D.C.—attending the victory Hill press conference after the passage of the IRA, for example, or being able to demonstrate outside of the Supreme Court—allowed me to feel like I knew what was going on, I mattered, and I could directly impact politics in the United States. I wouldn’t have felt this confident in my own worth as a United States citizen, especially after such a turbulent summer, if I hadn’t been in the nation’s capital.
Living in D.C. also allowed me to have a more successful internship: in contrast to other LCV interns that were working entirely remotely, I was able to make genuine in-person connections with the people I worked with. I was able to bump into LCV’s President in the hallways while getting coffee, attend rallies and participate in visibility events, and go to dinners with my coworkers. This visibility seems to have paid off: after my internship ended, I was asked by a different department if I’d like to be rehired as a Data Consultant. I’ve been continuing my work remotely since the fall semester began and have been enjoying every second of my blossoming career.
In the era of remote work, I want to stress that being able to live and work in Washington D.C. provided so much more than a remote internship would have allowed. I would encourage anyone that wants to explore all that D.C. has to offer to apply to the program.