Amanda Warnock is a junior from Carmel, IN who is on a dual-degree track pursuing a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in developmental and family science. She feels very fortunate to have been able to intern in Washington this summer gaining valuable experience in her field, forming new connections and making lasting memories.
Q: Where did you work/intern over the summer?
A: I interned in Washington, D.C. for Church World Service, the primary non-governmental organization (NGO) resettling refugees from Africa. I was a Policy & Advocacy Intern, meaning I spent half of my time in the House and Senate and the other half doing grassroots organizing and policy analysis.
Q: What was the best part about that experience?
A: I greatly enjoyed exploring Washington. I had never been there before, I didn’t know anyone there, and I didn’t go with a program or group. Because of this, I had to be intentional and proactive about making connections, exploring the city, and learning to live on my own. It was a remarkably valuable experience.
Q: Do you believe that experience helped you to grow professionally? If so, in what way?
A: The opportunities in D.C. were important for my professional growth. There were chances each week to meet members of Congress, federal officials, campaign managers, Hill staffers, and more. These networking opportunities were essential for furthering my understanding of what a career in Washington really looks like. I got to attend conferences on a variety of topics, including campaigning, policy creation, and grassroots outreach, which helped me leave Washington feeling like an insider.
Q: How do you feel that your education at Purdue helped you while working for this company/organization?
A: My education at Purdue helped me strengthen the essential skills of critical thinking and persuasive writing. I had to continuously think strategically when choosing who and how to lobby, and I certainly had to stay on my toes during conversations with members of Congress and officials from executive departments. I also had to utilize what I have learned from writing courses at Purdue, as I frequently wrote op-eds, fact sheets for government officials, and letters representing thousands of constituents submitted to the Congressional record during votes. I am very thankful for the high-quality education I have received during my time at Purdue.
Q: What career readiness tools do you feel Purdue has provided you with?
A: Purdue provided multiple readiness tools to help me towards achieving my goals. I met with the CCO staff to create a plan and used their example cover letters and resumes as resources during the application process.
Q: Is there any advice you would give to fellow Purdue students regarding the process of applying for jobs and internships?
A: I would encourage Purdue students to start applications early, keep their minds open to new opportunities, and allow themselves to take risks. I would also remind them that unpaid internships can be valuable. If they are being paid in connections and applicable experiences, and there are scholarships and grants available to help students fund these opportunities.