Name: Annie Thomas
Major: Public administration
Where are you interning? Partners for Each and Every Child
What is your title? Education policy intern
How did you get your internship? Through The Washington Center
What projects have you worked on? I’m currently getting in touch with various states and their respective Boards of Education to discuss ways to engage stakeholders based on their recently submitted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans to the U.S. Department of Education. I’m helping my colleagues devise a best practices report for the 17 states that submitted their ESSA plans. This report hopes to persuade the remaining states that need to submit their plans in September to seriously consider equity in stakeholder engagement.
How does your internship connect to your current coursework? Policy work is a central focus in public administration. I’m lucky enough to see how education policy is implemented in federal law.
What was the coolest thing that has happened thus far in your internship? I was able to sit in on the Senate hearing where Betsy DeVos defended/reviewed the FY2018 budget for the U.S. Department of Education!
What do you enjoy most about your experience? I love being able to connect local community members with their State Boards of Education and holding them accountable for their promises. For change to truly occur in the education system, people higher up need to have constant communication with their communities and be consistent.
What have you learned about yourself? I’ve learned how much I enjoy defending all students and their right to an equal education.
How has the position increased your professional confidence? Being able to sit in on calls and meetings with State Boards of Education has increased my professional confidence. I’m able to learn about what I’m passionate about and I’m constantly growing as a young professional.
How have you expanded your professional network? I’ve attended meetings with the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights and various other Human Rights organizations in the D.C. area. I’ve met people who are having an impact in their field and learned about their experiences.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Soak it all in and be prepared to learn so much about yourself and what you want to do with your career. Everything is fast paced in D.C. and you will love every minute of it!
FIU in D.C. is working with more than 50 students interning in the nation’s capital this summer. The office has planned several networking programs and continues to serve as a resource for the students as they gain real-world experience in the city. To learn more about the opportunities available with FIU in D.C., visit the office’s website.