Penn in Washington

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460July 19, 2012

As Washington scorches in record-setting heat, some Penn students are exploring hot government careers though Penn in Washington summer internships.

Since 2006, PIW has facilitated internship placements for Penn students who benefit from the internship database on the PIW website, counsel from the program director and in some cases a helping hand from an alumnus.

PIW director Deirdre Martinez says there are 225 students in the program this year.  She has lined up a host of networking events for the students to attend outside their internships.

They've met with top decision makers on Capitol Hill such as Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, had lunch at the State Department diplomatic dining rooms and attended panel sessions.

Martinez says alumni involvement is at the core of the PIW program. This summer some 400 alumni, recent grads and those who’ve been out of college for many years, agreed to agreed to come to networking events and also to be available to students for one-on-one informational interviews.

“It’s a range. A lot of people who are more established have more breathing room and stories to tell, ” Martinez says. “We have law partners, who are very active, vice presidents … and then there are the people who have been out of school a year or two who can tell students how they got their jobs and how much it costs to live there.”

These opportunities to connect with alumni are also important.  They could lead to future jobs.

Joseph Egozi, a rising junior majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, for example, was set up with a PIW mentor who worked as a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and lawyer at the Baker Hostetler law firm,

“He opened my eyes to the numerous opportunities in Washington in the field of law, politics and public policy,” Egozi says.

On the Hill, Egozi is interning at the office of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

He writes letters to constituents, answers phones, researches legislation -- the usual stuff of internships in the political arena -- and also attends congressional briefings for office staffers.

“While I’m one of about 14 interns in the congresswoman's congressional office, I’m responsible for revising other interns' work before it reaches our legislative director and for serving as a resource for the newer interns.” 

Caitlin Mumford, who is also a rising junior and with the same major, is doing a 10-week summer internship at the State Department Business and Economic Affairs Bureau in the Office of Commercial and Business Affairs.

As a PIW intern, Mumford works side by side with foreign-affairs officers gaining “exceptional educational and networking opportunities that not many people can say they have access to.”

“Every Penn student interning in D.C. should take advantage of PIW,” Mumford says.

Related: Annenberg Washington Summer Program