Thanks to a generous donation from Lockheed Martin to the La Follette School, student Nicole Kibble was able to do more than just survive during her summer in Washington, D.C.
The gift meant the La Follette School could provide stipends to Kibble and Corina Maxim to help them cover expenses while they worked unpaid internships. "The funding made a huge difference in a city where just the basic necessities can be quite expensive, including housing and food," Kibble says. "However, D.C. is also a city where once the basics are taken care of, there are plenty of opportunities for free food, drinks, museum visits, academic lectures, and other cultural experiences. Therefore, the generous funding made it not only possible to survive in D.C., but also to enjoy so much more that I would have otherwise missed had I not been able to afford taking the unpaid internship."
One experience they might have otherwise missed was taking a spin in a flight simulator at an event Lockheed Martin staff organized for all Washington, D.C., interns from the La Follette School and from the Department of Political Science. Robert Trice, a political science alum who is a vice president with Lockheed Martin, organized the event as part of his role with the advisory Board of Visitors the La Follette School and Department of Political Science share. The students talked with pilots and explored career options with Lockheed Martin. Trice and the company also treated them to a fancy dinner toward the end of the summer, which was a nice way to wind up their internships, Maxim says. "We all appreciated Mr. Trice's and Lockheed Martin's hospitality."
Interns in Washington, D.C.
Other La Follette School students in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2008 interned with the Inter-American Development Bank, U.S. Government Accountabililty Office and the Congressional Research Service.
For the GAO, Lindsay Read worked with a team of on a United Nations peacekeeping capacity project. "We asked the questions 'To what extent does the UN have the capacity to respond to an additional peacekeeping mission?' and 'What are the constraints, if any, on current and future missions?'" She went to the UN headquarters for a roundtable discussion with mission planning staff.
Paulina Calfucoy traveled to Ecuador and Guatemala as part of her internship with the Inter-American Development Bank. The trip helped her gather information and design workshops to promote networking by projects that advance sustainable economic and social development.
Justin King worked with GAO policy professionals to analyze federal practices for procuring goods and services from the private sector. "My primary assignment was an audit of several agencies regarding their use of a particular contracting vehicle," he says. "The most exciting part was that I worked to improve government efficiency and identify large potential savings for taxpayers."
As a policy research associate in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service, Justin Rivas focused on Latin America. He worked on inquiries with congressional staff, memoranda concerning policy issues for committee hearings and comprehensive reports on U.S. relations in the hemisphere.
Kibble, a Master of Public Affairs student, interned with the National Academy of Social Insurance, which placed her with AARP, so she had responsibilities to both organizations. For NASI, she attended weekly discussions about issues ranging from Social Security to long-term care. "The seminars provided an open forum to learn, analyze and debate social insurance topics with other interns and the experts leading the discussion," she says.
For AARP, Kibble researched topics related to economic security topics, including asset tests in means-tested programs, automatic 401(k)s and automatic IRAs, the history of American insurance regulation, redistricting politics and state constitutional amendment politics. "In addition, by attending conferences and then reporting on what I learned, I gained a wide array of knowledge on topics such as health care reform, pensions and poverty reform in a timely and high-impact manner," she says.
"The internship greatly enhanced my knowledge in my focus field of social policy, further expanding on social insurance topics such as retirement security, Social Security, and Medicare," Kibble says. "As a result, I feel much more well-rounded and more confident in the toolkit that La Follette has provided me."
As an intern with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maxim gained an up-close view of how the United States crafts public health policy. She gained this through an intense, one-month review of proposed regulations for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. "The loads of paperwork for revision and write-up, ardent debates, briefings at various levels, close deadlines, and close hold documents were the best hands-on demonstration of how public health policy is developed in the U.S.," she says
Maxim served in DHSS's Office of Assistant Secretary for Resources and Technology, Office of Budget, Division of Health Benefits and Income Support, Program Management and Medicare Branch. The experience exceeded her expectations as she gained exposure to U.S. Senate and House committee hearings, control documents, analytic projects and briefings.
"A large share of the work turned out to be in ad-hoc assignments, a reflection of the diverse work that federal agencies do," says Maxim, who is pursuing Master of International Public Affairs with a focus on health policy. In addition to the mountains of reading she did for research, briefings and discussions, she participated in brown bag training sessions, plus networking and information-sharing gatherings.
For Maxim, who had an internship offer in Wisconsin, the Lockheed Martin stipend shifted the balance to D.C. "It made the difference between going and not going," she says.