During my time in Washington D.C. I worked as a government relations intern with the National Association of Conservation Districts, a members-supported non-governmental organization (NGO) concerned with advocating for localized conservation efforts within agriculture across the nation. My primary task was to attend congressional committee hearings on legislation concerning our mission. I would then summarize the key notes from the hearing and brief my director so that she might better direct advocacy efforts. I also simultaneously participated in Illinois in Washington and earned 12 hours of academic credit.
Most valuable? This experience was valuable because it allowed me to better understand what I wanted out of a career. Specifically, it revealed to me what aspects of a job in Washington D.C. I liked, and equally as important, what I did not like. Upon completion of my internship I returned to UIUC with specific interests, and I was able to tailor my schedule so that I might further explore these interests in the classroom.
Future plans? Although I am not pursuing employment in Washington D.C. after graduation, my internship experience has convinced me to build a career that has public policy influence. I am currently planning to pursue a Master of Science in Applied Economics, so that I might contribute to pressing public policy conversations with research and evidence.