Excerpts from LBJ students' comments on their internship assignments.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
Office of Government Relations
Throughout the summer I researched pertinent issues such as sport betting, Internet gambling, performance-enhancing drug use and athlete agent laws to best inform membership, Congress and other government and higher education officials regarding the effect on college athletics. I also engaged in strategic planning for the upcoming year to target key states for the passage of the Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
It has been my goal to delve into the connection between public policy (social, economic and health) and sports while at the LBJ School. The NCAA internship has been keenly in line with my career objectives.
Texas Partnership for End-of-Life Care
I primarily conducted research at TxPEC. For my first assignment, I planned a focus group aimed at gathering information about cultural diversity and end-of-life care. It was the first time TxPEC used focus groups for their research, so they asked me to look up theoretical background and to set up a focus group model. For two months, I researched theory about focus groups, diversity issues, and previous studies on end-of-life decisions for different ethnic groups. The second assignment I worked on was analyzing the exit survey results of the "Common Thread Conference" held on June 3rd and 4th for the TxPEC Education Committee.
I am very interested in nonprofit management and interning at TxPEC was an invaluable opportunity to experience the real world of the nonprofit world. Watching a small nonprofit organization develop its structure and funding sources was enough to satisfy my academic interest.
US Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration,
Office of Telecommunications Technologies
[I] wrote an assessment of the key policy and regulatory issues affecting the telecom industry in 2004, wrote a market overview analysis for Korea and one for Australia, and researched patent expiration dates for foreign pharmaceuticals.
I accepted this internship as a means of exploring a new policy sector. I have accomplished just that and have made contacts within the field in both the public and private sectors
US Department of Transportation
St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
I was hired as a research assistant for this agency, and my primary duties involved researching and gathering information pertaining to a pending lawsuit that was filed by a Native American Tribe against the Seaway, charging that the Seaway violated, among other laws, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. I researched many environmental studies to help the Seaway's defense.
The opportunity to temporarily live and work in Washington, DC was very beneficial and a good learning experience, as I may return in the future. Furthermore, I believe working for DOT to be in my possible career future, since transportation is one of my primary policy interests.
Office of Management and Budget
Office of the Deputy Director for Management
Deputy Director Clay Johnson III and his staff are responsible for the implementation of the President's Management Agenda (PMA), which has five government-wide initiatives: strategic management of human capital; competitive sourcing; improved financial performance; expanded electronic government; and budget and performance integration. The area in which I am most involved is in the Budget and Performance Integration (BPI) initiative-the overarching goal of which is to have decision-makers base daily and strategic decisions on performance information, as well as on budget data.
My time at OMB certainly allowed me to answer some career questions. First, since I only have private sector experience to going back to school, it was helpful to be submerged into the public sector-to see its good aspects and not-so-good aspects from the inside. Second, I was able to learn more about the culture of OMB and to find out if it was a good fit for me. Third, while learning more about OMB, I was able to find out what the nature of other government departments and agencies is, especially because I am working on government-wide initiatives. Finally, and most important to me, this time gave my husband and me the chance to find out if D.C. is where want to be. A twelve- week internship is low-commitment, high-return!
United States Agency for International Development
Social Transitions Team, Bureau for Europe and Eurasia
I worked on several research assignments that were a part of the division's analytical agenda. The goal of the analytical agenda is to make a case for supporting the social sector in transition countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia by showing an intrinsic link between social sector reforms and democratic governance and economic growth. Initially, I worked on a literature review to gather support for this argument, and as the internship progressed I mostly worked on researching specific countries and compiling annotated bibliographies of all available reports and studies on social sector issues in the countries, including education and human capital, health access and provision, social assistance and social insurance.
My internship was very relevant to both my academic and career objectives. The research I conducted sparked some interests that I would like to pursue further in an academic setting, and I learned a lot about working in the international development arena-both in the public and private sectors.
County of San Diego
I worked with County Agricultural Commissioner Kathleen Thuner on revising the statewide criteria for pesticide mill tax funding apportionments that counties are entitled to under law. Existing criteria for allotment of funds from the state to the counties result in unstable and arbitrary funding levels from year to year, rewarding counting of widgets (eg. how many inspections are done) over performance measures (e.g. has the incidence of pesticide-related illnesses decreased?). Additionally, these funds have remained stagnant for years, requiring counties across the state rely increasingly on local funds to enforce state pesticide laws. Therefore, my efforts have been focused on two issues: (1) collecting data needed to develop criteria for a more stable and performance-based system of pesticide tax disbursement, and (2) updating an issue paper to the Legislature prepared by the Agricultural Commissioners last year detailing the need for additional funds going from the state to the counties.
I was interested in pursuing a career in local government and this internship gave me good background to pursue that goal.
Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation
[I] assist the Office of Community Conservation in development of several HUD reports, primarily the CAPER (Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report). [I have the] opportunity to work with federally-funded grantees and subrecipients on HUD-funded activities as well as visit community organizations as part of county's revitalization efforts in older communities ringing Baltimore City.
I'm quite unsure about my career objectives, but I can say that this job helped prepare me for any kind of career. Especially for someone who had never worked in this area (or in a job that required any kind of degree) learning the ins and outs of a government office was terrific. I am definitely interested in policy that affects the homeless, anti-poverty strategy, and persons with disabilities, and this position contributed immensely to my knowledge of those subjects. This job helped prepare me to work in both government and nonprofit because of the opportunities I was given.
Politeknika Krakowsa, Poland
I began doing extensive research into the environmental history of Poland from the Cold War on. Jerzy [Mikosc, LBJ Class of '94] supplied me with all of the necessary information and assistance. I decided to help Jerzy on a particular model dealing with the sustainability of waste-water treatment plants. Since environmental economics and quantity measurement for a sustainable operation is still disagreed upon unanimously, we took great pains to work out economic indicators. The majority of my time was spent on determining appropriate indicators for this model.
I am interested in environmental policy, but only tangentially by way of economics. I was happy to help on an aspect of Jerzy's work where I could be of genuine service--in economic theory. The time spent overseas may also be of benefit as I am considering a career in foreign service.
United Nations Development Program
Serbia and Montenegro
I have been working in the Sustainable Development Cluster. I have been responsible for writing project proposals to secure funding from donors in order to implement projects to improve energy efficiency, foster sustainable development, raise public awareness regarding environmental issues and their health impacts, and to aid in reducing poverty in Serbia and Montenegro.
As a joint-degree student focusing on Serbia, this internship has allowed me to expand my knowledge of Serbian politics and culture. In the future, I hope to work in the field of international affairs, most likely for a multilateral organization. My internship has allowed me to gain a great deal of insight regarding the UN and how it functions, as well as about development work and how it is funded, implemented and evaluated by the UN. I believe this experience has been very relevant to my future career objectives.
United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Hiroshima Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNITAR HOAP)
I am working primarily with the Hiroshima Fellowship for Afghanistan, a long-term capacity building programme for Afghan government leaders, academics, and practitioners. A main task has been writing a proposal for the Fellowship's second cycle. This included reviewing lessons learned from the Fellowship's pilot phase, brainstorming with the UNITAR HOAP Director and Fellowship Programme Officer, contacting and reviewing conversations with potential international partners, and researching other executive development programs.
I would like to work with an international organization, so in that sense it has relevance to my career objectives. It has also helped me develop skills important in project design and implementation as well as improving my prose. However, I am becoming more and more sure that I want to work in a career centered on the environment and environmental policy, so the subject of post-conflict reconstruction is a little off.