A Student’s Experience in the Department of Education

Posted on June 6, 2013 by Annie Do.

The most rewarding experience I have ever had in my undergraduate career was my internship at the Department of Education here in the Office of the Under Secretary. This Spring, I was privileged with the opportunity to work with Senior Officials and Policy Advisors on key issues that directly affect me as a college student. I learned, grew, and was challenged every day to be creative, hard-working, and actively engaged with Under Secretary Kanter and her team. The most exciting part was that everything we were working on concerned me- a college student. The best part of my internship was the freedom I was given to pursue projects or attend different events. This allowed me to dip my feet in different areas of interest and expose myself to everything and anything that concerns higher education.

In April, I attended a hearing on The Challenge of College Affordability: The Student Lens in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, where I heard compelling testimonies from students, professors, and others who were important voices in the field. I also attended several policy briefings at the Department, and I even had the opportunity to have lunch with Secretary Duncan and the other interns. I learned about everything- I could not have asked for a better experience. I also went with Under Secretary Kanter to a couple of other events, such as a press conference and panel at the Newseum concerning The Century Foundation’s Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal report.

I was also tasked with updating the OUS blog. Doing so taught me about different projects that our Policy Advisors are working on, such as financial literacy and MOOCs. I created a plan for the future of the website, and I hope the next intern will continue to pursue it.

I learned about the day to day processes of preparing for the next working day. Helping prepare the briefing book for Under Secretary Kanter taught me to be more organized and develop a professional work ethic. I am looking forward to bringing the skills and knowledge I have learned from OUS back to the University of California, Irvine, where I will finish my education and graduate in the next year. I will be participating in the Summer Academic Enrichment Program, an intensive research program that I know OUS has prepared me for.

My experience here would not have been so positive if I was not working with such great people. OUS was always supportive of me and encouraged me to make the most of my experience every day. They inspired me to be creative and innovative- I was always motivated to come to work in the morning. With that, I would like to thank the staff and my supervisors for being the best I could ever ask for- I am so lucky to have this opportunity. The other interns that I met became my great friends- I hope that I can work with them in the future. It has been an amazing run, and I am looking forward to the next great adventure!

Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. -Confucius

Annie Do is an Undergraduate Student at the University of California, Irvine and served as a Spring 2013 Intern with the Office of the Under Secretary.

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