My internship with the State Department

Name: Isaiah Barrett

Major: Communications

Where did you intern? I interned for the Department of State, International Information Programs (IIP) Office of Design.

What did you do there? What were your responsibilities? I managed and provided guidance in multimedia platforms such as WordPress to help redevelop sites in the IIP Department. I also assisted in designing, planning and developing a new user friendly interface for IIP’s “American Spaces” site.

What projects did you work on? How did your internship connect back to your coursework? I worked on a major project to redevelop and redesign the interactive website that serves as IIP’s main source for content distribution and live stream of conferences. Finishing up my Communications Degree, I realized that this internship had direct correlation with my coursework. Being able to communicate with diplomats and coordinators from different cultures is exactly what my classes prepared me for. Certain communication techniques that I learned in class helped me to properly communicate with individuals from different cultures.

What was the coolest thing that happened during your internship? What did you like most about your experience? The coolest thing that happened during the internship was learning how this department develops and operates its websites, and how it differs from the private and academic sectors. In the private sector there is much more leniency when a project needs to be completed. I usually have full autonomy when I want to start a project from the beginning to the end. In the government a project requires more phases and each part of the project is done in increments. I enjoyed learning how the government goes through each phase and discusses how each part of the project needs to be completed. In the academic sector, it is somewhat similar to the private sector in that a project does not need as many stages. It makes sense that the government would need more steps due to its stress on high security measures. What I liked the most about the experience was being able to immerse myself in the State Department and make good connections that I can network with when I get back home.

How did the position increase your professional confidence? This position increased my professional confidence because it gave me the leverage I needed to be a more competitive applicant when I look for new jobs in the government or private sector.

What did you learn about yourself?  I learned that working in the government helped me better understand myself in working with a different group of people. That there are a lot more procedures that go into completing a project in the government rather than the private sector.

How did you secure your internship? I secured my internship by applying on a government job portal.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Keep an open mind and be willing to learn from the new environment. Make sure to contribute your ideas and not stay silent.