Washington, D.C., is more than just a place for politics.
Just ask Illinois State University’s latest group of D.C. summer interns, who are now wrapping up their pre-professional experiences at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the D.C. Metro Police, the National Archives, an internationally known graphic design firm, and D.C. Public Schools, just to name a few.
They spent this summer in Washington as part of a special ISU program offered to students through their academic colleges and Research and Sponsored Programs. Those selected benefit from several program perks, including shared intern housing on Capitol Hill and special events and networking opportunities.
This summer, interns were invited to an Alumni Association event in D.C. attended by President Larry Dietz and Marlene Dietz, plus other Redbirds.
“I think it’s great that Illinois State is promoting these kinds of experiences for its students. It creates well-rounded individuals. It creates critical thinkers,” said Taylor Gersch ’15, a graphic design major who interned this summer at Washington-based Insomniac Design.
And because the ISU interns live together and are all from different majors, they learn from each other.
“One of the great things about this is that the students come back together each night in their rental house and talk about their experiences,” said Ashley Ellefritz from ISU’s Federal Government Relations office, who coordinates the program. “For a student who works in graphic design, for example, she gets to learn a little about what it’s like to work at the National Archives. That experience is at the core of the Washington program, because it expands your view beyond what exactly you came here to do.”
The STATEside crew traveled to Washington earlier this summer to interview current interns (and an alumna who previously interned) and discover what they’ve learned on the job.
“Washington is a unique city because it’s really run by young people, and you’ll find that most offices on Capitol Hill and throughout the federal government are run by the under-30 crowd,” Ellefritz said. “It’s empowering to see what you can achieve so quickly after graduating from college.”
Interested in joining the D.C. internship program? Learn more about the program.
Contact STATEside’s editor at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.