Skip to Content
My virtual internship at the Office of Inspector General
Nicole Llorente, FIU Honors College student

My virtual internship at the Office of Inspector General

Honors College student puts her finance major to use in a virtual summer internship within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

August 26, 2020 at 9:30am

Name: Nicole Llorente

Hometown: I was born and raised in Miami, Florida.

What is your major? I am majoring in finance and in the process of obtaining a certificate in pre-law.

Where do you intern? What was is role there? I am currently interning in The Office of Inspector General, a division within the Human and Health Services that audits and monitors fraudulent activity in Medicaid and Medicare. Within The Office of Inspector General, I work in the Office of Management and Policy. I work with the director of the office. As an intern within this office, my role is to provide a more efficient work environment within the Office of Inspector General,with a main goal of preventing health care fraud and proper health care assistance, especially during this pandemic.

How did you get your internship? The fall of 2019 I was looking for internships everywhere. On a government website listing, I found available positions as an intern within government agencies. I applied in August for the one I currently have, and I received a call in November for an interview. I prepared the night before, and, a few hours after the interview, my current supervisor called to advise that I received the position.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? For those who are applying to internships, I suggest you apply to as many as you can. If the interview doesn’t go well don’t be to hard on yourself, see it as practice for another interview that will most likely go better.

What projects do you work on? I work on the following projects:

  • Identify data required for use by management for various programs and identify various resources required to support program operations.
  • Write reports of study findings for projects.
  • Research and investigate new or improved business and management practices for application to agency programs or operations.
  • Assist in assembling data and consolidating and preparing reports for assigned for projects.
  • Types memorandum, reports and other documents as assigned and reviews for correctness and conformance to organizational policies.
  • Assist in reviewing reports and other documents for correctness and verifying discrepancies with the appropriate office or individual.
  • Conduct follow-up actions to assure timely receipt of responses.
  • Create intranets in order to promote efficiency and communication within the department of OMP.

How does your internship connect back to your coursework? Within this management division, I have to ensure that certain funds are being used and dispersed correctly within the division as well as reconcile fees and expenses, making sure that the proper protocols are being complied with. This connects back to financial accounting course within the finance major.

What is the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship? Since this division is within the Human and Health Services, I receive really accurate updates on the current situation with vaccine trials, cases and updates standards weekly from the CDC, which I think is pretty interesting.

What do you like most about your experience? The president is ultimately my boss, since he chooses the head of OIG, who then chooses the director of the management and policy, who then chooses my supervisor.

What are you learning about yourself or how is the position increasing your professional confidence? This experience has helped me develop professional jargon, and it has taught me the importance of communication within an office, taking an initiative, communicating an idea, and accepting a mistake. Before I would always second guess myself, but it is OK to make a mistake. My supervisor always reminded me that internships are a learning experience, and you are suppose to make mistakes to learn from them.

What is it like to have a “virtual” internship during the COVID-19 pandemic? Before this pandemic, I thought I was going to work at the Human and Health Services headquarters. Working remotely has its pros and cons. I get to work from the comfort of my own home, but I missed out on the office experience of sitting in a small cubicle and attending meetings. We all connect through Microsoft teams and email, these programs work perfectly, but instead or going directly to someone for a tip or question I have to send an email or message to someone who could have been less than a foot away, and then wait a few hours or even a whole day. The only con in this situation would be delayed communication.

How do you connect with colleagues and build connections through a remote work environment? There are opportunities to connect and meet up with other interns of employees through events in Microsoft teams, rather than in person.