Summer internships took La Follette School students to Germany, California, Missouri, Chicago, India, Washington, D.C., and other locations during 2017. Several students stayed in Wisconsin, gaining valuable experience at government agencies, with nonprofit organizations, and in the private sector.
Casey Hutchinson worked for the U.S. Department of State in the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany. She said her writing skills and fluency in German helped her secure the internship.
“My main project was writing a cable about the role of women in German politics,” said Hutchinson, a student in La Follette’s Master of International Public Relations (MIPA) program. “Gender equality is a hot-button issue in both Germany and the United States, so I researched each of the six main parties and how they are trying (or not) to integrate women into leadership positions.”
Travis Shoemaker, a student in the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program, served an internship in California with Kate Battiato (MPA ’07) at the Resource Management Agency (RMA) of Monterey County.
As a performance management assistant, Shoemaker assisted RMA leadership with revamping its performance measures, built a predictive model to extrapolate the deterioration of county roads, and conducted research with Battiato.
“At a recent Monterey County Board meeting, RMA director highlighted Travis’s work on building a model to track pavement conditions over time,” said Battiato. “The results of his work are far-reaching and meaningful to the RMA and hopefully to Monterey County residents.”
The RMA director’s presentation, including a reference to the agency’s “University of Wisconsin intern,” is online, with references to Shoemaker’s work beginning at about 3:40.
Omer Arain, a MIPA student in La Follette’s Accelerated Program, served an internship with the City of Madison’s Finance Department. Arain and another intern guided the Streets and Library departments through a 12-week engagement to create performance metrics, a data-collection plan, and data-visualization dashboards for their various services.
“I also conducted background research and attended data management team meetings geared toward City open data; publishing over 1,000 datasets maintained by City agencies,” said Arain. “Performance management, business intelligence tools, working full time, and operations of local government were valuable new experiences for me, and I learned a considerable amount about contemporary challenges facing government entities.”
Several La Follette School students worked in federal agencies in Washington, D.C., including MPA student Mia Nafziger, who was a program assistant at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Nafziger analyzed and visualized data on bank examiner hours worked, wrote and edited memos for the Office of Supervision Examinations’ Quality Management Program, reviewed and analyzed files for bank exams, and prepared materials and surveys for training sessions.
Also in the nation’s capital, Alison Harrell supported the regional and multinational affairs team at the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs in preparation for the United Nations General Assembly.
Harrell, a MIPA student, also participated in a working group to combat wildlife trafficking in Sub-Saharan Africa, “coordinating with relevant stakeholders, liaising with counterparts in the field, and representing the Bureau of African Affairs in department-wide policy development.”
Ryan LeCloux, another MIPA student, served as an intern with the Nanubhai Education Foundation, a small nonproft organization in Gujarat, India. He said the position gave him the opportunity to apply the management, analytical, and evaluation skills he has acquired at the La Follette School.
Students enrolled in PA 827 Administrative Internship earned academic credit for their internships, and the La Follette School provided financial support to some of them through the Summer Public Affairs Learning Experience Award Program. Students in PA 827 are required to submit brief internship summaries, which are posted online.