Jordan Wayne '16
Research Analyst, Intern
The Potomac Advocates
How did you land your current position?
The Washington Center (TWC) works with students to pair them with an internship site that matches their career goals. I submitted my resume to TWC at the end of the semester last year and after a few conversations with an internship advisor, my application was submitted to several organizations in D.C. After that, the process is the same as any job search process, I was asked to do phone interviews with a couple organizations before I found the right fit with The Potomac Advocates.
TWC students are also free to find their own internships without help from the program but TWC has great relationships with places in D.C. so it made more sense to me to work with them.
What does a normal day look like?
On a normal day I walk to work. I like D.C. because it seems like everyone walks or bikes to work and I pass the capitol building every day. Everyone arrives to the office at 9 AM and I spend the first few hours of the morning catching up on the news. In D.C. everyone is very up to date with what’s going on in their field of focus. It’s important for interns to know what’s going on in the defense industry so that we can be ready for any request a client might have.
After reading the news I start working on whatever assignment I have. Clients’ requests vary widely, so one week I might be researching the latest technology the Air Force is using in its fighter jets, and the next I’ll be going over the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) looking up budget cuts. A few times per week I watch a Congressional Hearing on a relevant topic and summarize it for the partners to distribute to a client.
Finally, every week I am responsible for producing a Cyber Report, the report details current legislation related to cyber security and compiles the week’s most important cybersecurity news articles. My office stocks plenty of snacks and coffee so I’m constantly refueling throughout the day!
What do you find most challenging in your position?
The most challenging part of my internship for me is the pace. Some days it feels like there is hardly any work to do, and other days I can barely keep up with all of the assignments. This is my third internship and I have encountered this problem at each place I have worked. I started to take time every Monday to plan my week and make a to-do list; this helped me find things to accomplish on the slow days and it helps me prioritize projects for the more hectic days.
What is some advice that you would give to students who are currently searching for internships?
Don’t let your major define your options. Start your internship search with the businesses that inspire you and that you feel passionately about; every business big or small needs an accountant, and even big corporate giants need English majors.
What is some advice you would give to those who are about to start their first internship?
The most important advice I’ve gotten from talking to my supervisors is to make yourself relevant. Your internship supervisor isn’t going to remember you if you don’t give them a reason to; even if you never make a mistake and complete every assignment on time. What makes an intern memorable is if they can bring something to the business that wasn’t there before. Whether it’s starting a new tradition like bringing cupcakes on Thursdays or improving an outdated intern manual; making a sustainable change will make a world of difference when you start asking for letters of recommendation.