Florida State University graduate student Lauredan Official experienced the powerful and fast-paced work of federal government in his internship with the Department of Transportation Human Resources policy team. Seeing how policy becomes actions that shape people’s lives, the experience fueled his desire for a career within the federal government and service to important causes. Read more about his experiences:
Where did you intern, what department, what is their main purpose and how did you contribute to it?
This past summer, through The Washington Center, I served as an HR Policy Intern in the Departmental of Transportation’s Office of Human Resource Management, specifically within the HR Policy and Oversight team under the Office of the Secretary. Our primary mission was to guarantee that the DOT's policies and guidance align seamlessly with existing laws and regulations. Furthermore, we were deeply involved in changes brought about by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Tell us about a project, Field trip, PD session or networking interaction that took place during your internship that was the most impactful to you?
One of the most profound moments during my internship was witnessing the dynamic nature of governmental priorities. I had always been told that priorities shift swiftly, but seeing it unfold in real time was genuinely illuminating. A pivotal moment came on June 9, 2023, when an executive order was signed and unveiled. This order, encompassing nearly 20 actionable directives, sought to bolster career stability, urging agencies to institute common standards, defined processing timelines and clear communication protocols.
Under the guidance of my supervisor, I was entrusted with crafting the policy template for the government-wide standardization of Domestic Employee Teleworking Overseas (DETO). This policy empowers certain Federal employees to operate remotely from international locations. The overarching objective is multifaceted:
- Facilitating the government's global endeavors.
- Fortifying family ties.
- Ensuring the Federal workforce retains its invaluable talent pool.
This includes supporting military spouses who accompany their service members on overseas postings. The opportunity to contribute to such a transformative initiative was inspiring and deeply impactful.
In what ways have you expanded your opportunities and/or narrowed down your desired career options during your time with TWC/DOT?
My professional aspirations significantly transformed during my tenure with The Washington Center/DOT. I am now profoundly drawn towards a fulfilling career within the federal government. As I approach my completion of graduate school, I am actively pursuing federal programs such as the Presidential Management Fellowship, Professional Development Program and the Congressional Black Caucus. What truly resonated with me was the vibrant community of dedicated public servants and the profound impact of their work. I am wholeheartedly committed to rejoining this community and furthering its impactful missions.
My professional aspirations significantly transformed during my tenure with The Washington Center/DOT. I am now profoundly drawn towards a fulfilling career within the federal government.Lauredan Official, Department of Transportation Human Resources policy team intern
How has this experience impacted your view on public service within the federal government?
This experience has profoundly elevated my reverence for public service within the federal government. It sheds light on federal employees' daily dedication and commitment to their roles. I've come to appreciate the intricate challenges they navigate and their unwavering passion for serving our nation's greater good. Their resilience and determination in fulfilling their duties underscore the true essence of public service.
What advice do you have for students considering a federally funded internship with TWC?
For students contemplating a federally-funded internship with TWC, I offer the following three insights:
- Embrace the Experience: Wholeheartedly seize this unparalleled opportunity. The landscape of public service is vast, revealing challenges that need innovative minds and dedicated individuals to address. By immersing yourself in this realm, you contribute to the broader mission and become a part of the essential fabric of public service.
- Deepen Your Knowledge: Strive to become well-versed in your domain swiftly. I began my days by tuning into four federal government news podcasts, delving deep into industry magazines, and following relevant LinkedIn pages. Such proactive initiatives made me an asset to my team and set me apart, allowing me to tackle more significant responsibilities that might elude a conventional intern.
- Be Proactive and Inclusive: Always be eager to take on tasks, regardless of their scale. I entered the internship believing that no task was beyond or beneath my capabilities. This attitude not only expanded my skill set but also fostered connections with diverse professionals, further enriching my professional journey.
Are you considering a career within the federal government or public service sector? Why or why not?
My aspiration in working for the federal government is to not merely serve until retirement but to dedicate my entire life to improving our society. I am ardently hopeful for the future and inspired by the potential to make meaningful contributions throughout my career and beyond.
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