(Photo by Tar Rakhra, 2014 Fellow)
“This summer has been a great experience for me. Meeting all the fellows and learning what each one is capable of and aspire to be motivates me and pushes me to be successful. I enjoyed hanging out with other fellows and spending time with them. Although this summer was short, I was able to bond and build relationships with them. I also enjoyed the events we had to attend. I got a better understanding of what it means to be an Asian American and what challenges we all have today. It was a great opportunity to work with the brightest fellows and staff at ILF. I really enjoyed every event and meeting that was carefully thought of and put together. I appreciate such a hard working staff and community support ILF provided me during this summer. Also, most important of all, my internship placement was the best placement I could ever ask for. Interning with USAID opened new doors for me. I was better prepared and understood what direction I should take after grad school. Overall, this was truly a great experience for me and thank you ILF for this important opportunity.”
My internship experience at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Food Security (BFS) has been my most rewarding and fulfilling to date. Although there were the inescapable tasks of paperwork and administrative duties, I have also been given the opportunity to work on gender-empowerment and civil society projects, as well as help in the logistics for the BFS signature event in the first-ever White House-led African Leaders Summit this early August. From attending interagency meetings, to networking with people from other bureaus and to bureau bonding moments over the excitement of the World Cup, my time in USAID has been an unforgettable one. Not only was I welcomed warmly into the bureau by the Assistant Administrator of BFS and all my colleagues, which, for an intern amongst the hustle and bustle of metropolitan D.C., is rare, but the mentorship, the genuine interest in my future, and the advice I have received is priceless, as well as all the prominent leaders I have been given the opportunity to listen to (now I can say that I saw the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the chair of the African Union Commission speaking live). Although I started interning a little late due to the clearance process, my administrative officer in BFS has done so much for me in order to make sure that I was comfortable and settled, and that if I were in D.C. and wanted to intern again, I could connect to him. Hearing this made me realize my immense gratitude to all the people whom have helped me thus far. I used to be a cynic about federal agencies (I still am, although more less so) because of all the stifling bureaucracy, but seeing the passionate people working to help propel programs and interactions and impact people across the world in my bureau has been immensely awe-inspiring and has made me rethink a possible future in the public sector.
“As a liberal arts student majoring in Studio Art and loosely following the Pre-medical track, I really did not expect to be included in ILF’s 2014 Civic Fellowship program. I was again awestruck when I was accepted to intern at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Aerospace Medicine. I soon learned the importance of trying to understand the government and regulatory environment, as they really do affect all parts of our lives.
Fast-forward just three weeks, I have found purpose and meaning in many of the FAA’s services. Most notable are the experiences I have had during my placement in the Office of Aerospace Medicine, which exists primarily for the medical certification and oversight of pilots and other safety-related positions. It is a seemingly simple function but undoubtedly contributes to the constant development and maintenance of air travel as one of the safest and most efficient modes of transportation.
What may have seemed like an uncertain prospect at the beginning of June has since transformed into an amazing internship and learning experience. I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience due to the generosity and kindness of both the ILF and FAA team. Furthermore, my interest in a career in public service as well as Aerospace Medicine has grown tremendously. I owe this amazing experience to the International Leadership Foundation.”