My internship at The Washington Center

Name: Jose-Andres Camacho

Major: International Relations

Where did you intern? I interned at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Fall 2016

What did you do there? Marketing and Communications

How did you get your internship? I obtained my internship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in partnership with The Washington Center for Academic Internships and Seminars.

What projects did you work on? I helped develop and execute CHCI’s social media strategy for their 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month Public Policy Conference and 39th Annual Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., as well as on-going social media efforts.

How did your internship connect back to your coursework? My internship heavily focused on public policy issues and how decisions made in Washington affect the American Hispanic-Latino demographic. My coursework focuses on international and foreign policy-making and how it affects the United States and its interests.

What was the coolest thing that happened during your internship? During CHCI’s 39th Annual Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., I was fortunate to get a backstage pass for all that was happening that night. In addition to this, I was responsible for social media coverage of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s and President Barack Obama’s address to CHCI’s Annual Awards Gala that historic night.

What did you like most about your experience? I liked how The Washington Center had “real-world” assignments (like conducting informational interviews) that pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to build my self-confidence, networking skills and resume in the process.

What did you learn about yourself? I learned I admire Washington, D.C., and I would love to start a career there shortly after graduating FIU.

How did the position increase your professional confidence? My internship position forced me to expand my network, become involved in policy issues, manage my time, build my interpersonal skills, carry more responsibility, but most of all, it challenged me to be appreciative for the numerous growth opportunities D.C. presented.

How did you expand your professional network? Aside from attending a foreign policy class at the Department of State, visiting multiple embassies, attending receptions with various members of Congress or just introducing myself to professionals I met around town, I also conducted two informational interviews while in D.C. An informational interview is simply an opportunity to sit down, grab coffee and ask a peer, colleague or someone you aspire to be like someday about their professional or career history.

My first informational interview was with the counselor to the administrator of FEMA. He was an inspirational leader. The second informational interview was with the project lead of the Precision Medicine Initiative and worked in the Office of Health & Science Policy for the Chief of Staff of the White House. Both networking opportunities, quite honestly, were invaluable.

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” When I returned to South Florida and began the internship/job hunt, my resume definitely stood out. Employers noticed my experience and involvement. It immediately made me a valuable candidate in the interview processes.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? In any internship or position, I always recommend capitalizing on the assignments you’ve been entrusted with and constantly looking for opportunities.

In Fall 2016, Jose-Andres Camacho received The Washington Center’s Award for Professional Growth. This award is given each term to a deserving student who strives for and shows progress toward professional goals independently or through professional track activities, Career Boot Camp or other professional development programming.