Summer Internship at the U.S. Department of Education

Posted on August 29, 2012 by Roxanne Garza

This summer I interned in the Office of the Under Secretary.  I was one of two interns in the office.  OUS is a very fast-paced and busy office so this allowed for both of us to have plenty of great learning opportunities throughout the summer.  In my capacity, I helped plan and coordinate events, conducted data analysis, and worked on teacher preparation program quality issues.

In my first days at the Department, I had the opportunity to sit down with each of the OUS staff members and learn about the different projects that were being worked on.  I quickly got involved with the planning and organization of the Education Data Jam.  The Data Jam, co-hosted by ED and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, brought together educational technology experts and entrepreneurs to brainstorm how open data could be used to develop new applications and services that could help students with college selection.  The event was a lot of fun, as it was full of enthusiasm, and it gave me a great opportunity to be in the room with some of the top education entrepreneurs while they discussed potential innovations for college comparison-shopping and financial literacy.

Another exciting event that I assisted with was the Veterans’ Success at Institutions of Higher Education.  This was a day long convening in which representatives from the Departments of Education, Defense and Veterans Affairs, and 15 of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education grantees that received funding for Vet Centers of Excellence on their campuses were present.  The convening focused on developing a set of best practices to improve veteran success on campus.  Along with the planning, organization, and implementation of the convening, I co-produced a best practices document that was used at the symposium for further discussion. It was great to have worked on both the Education Data Jam and the Veterans’ Success Convening and have been able to see them through in the short amount of time that I spent at ED.

Throughout the summer I also worked on proposed regulations pertaining to teacher preparation.  This involved a combination of research, data analysis, producing briefing materials, and editing.  I was also given the opportunity to be in the room during high-level policy discussion about the proposed regulation.  Working on teacher preparations regulations gave me the opportunity to see how the negotiated rulemaking process works and how the community and stakeholders are included in the process.

More generally, my summer at the Department of Education was an amazing experience for numerous reasons.  The Office of the Under Secretary has a great staff and was a great environment to work on higher education policy. Taking on the role of policy intern in the Office of the Under Secretary was the perfect opportunity for me to augment my public policy degree course work with a practical experience that gave me insight into the policy making process at the federal level.  This was a perfect spring forward in the direction that I want to take with my career in working on higher education policy issues.

Roxanne Garza is a Graduate Student at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and served as a Summer 2012 Intern with the Office of the Under Secretary

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