Political Science Success Stories - Placements

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Political Science Success Stories

photo of Richard CrumRichard Crum - Department of Justice/ INTERPOL

Internship Placement:  Department of Justice/INTERPOL, Washington, D.C.

Your internship title: International Fugitive Division-Intern

How did you find your internship?  The Washington Center introduced me to the INTERPOL office and I researched their web page, mission statement, and organization and decided that this is the office I want to do my internship in.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?  First thing in the morning I hand deliver the mail to the Special Agents in the office, which gives me a lot of face time for one-on-one question and answer sessions.  My primary duty for the rest of the day is to notify other INTERPOL offices in other countries that we have deported one of their citizens or they are harboring one of our fugitives. I send out what are called “Green Notices” detailing what the Fugitives are wanted for, or if they are being deported I notify them of what the subject did in our country and warn them of his criminal conduct and anticipated arrival.  While that is an on-going task, many Agents in INTERPOL use the large Intern Pool at D.O.J. to participate in their recruiting efforts for their respective agencies.  Every Agency that has an international division is represented at Interpol.  Some of the many tours and meet and greets that I have been to this summer are with the FBI, ATF, IRS, DEA, Secret Service, many Embassys, US. Marshals, and two congressional hearings. 

What is the best part of your internship?  Walking and taking the metro to and from work everyday. It is a very good feeling to work in the Federal Triangle in Washington, DC.  Many of the people, especially in the summer, are tourists and you are there to work.  When you flash your badge and walk into a magical building such as the Department of Justice, it helps jump start your mornings.  As I walk past and glance into the US. Attorney General's office during the day and then later that evening hear on the news what had transpired in that same office through out the day, it helps make my internship feel important as well. I believe that would true even if you were a janitor in the D.O.J.

What are the top two things you have learned?  
1.) Extraditing and deporting criminals internationally are both expensive and require a lot of coordination between many different agencies.  Not only are American Agencies working together, but foreign governments need to coordinate their efforts with us as well.  We have treaties with many countries, but most are not enforced.

2.) Many of the fugitives that we deport back to Central and South American countries are being deported for the 6th, 7th, or 8th time.  The crimes for which we deport them for are not often for anything less then rape, murder, child molestation, and various gang related activity.  With no account of who comes into our country, because of many gaps in the Mexican border, these criminals continue to cross back over and commit more felonies.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?  I would recommend this internship to everyone that has a desire to understand politics and policy first hand.  Not only is it a great addition to his/her resume, but by the end of the semester you are able to grasp how all of the many Agencies, Non-profits, Lobbyist, Politicians, and the Courts all dance together to help better this country every day.  You can even add the protestors into that category.

A quote regarding your internship experience:  "The experience has been a landmark in my academic career."


 Christopher Belch - The Potomac Advocates


Internship Placement Name:  The Potomac Advocates, Washington, D.C.

Your internship title:  Research Analyst Intern

How did you find your internship? I found my internship through the Washington Center, and was given options based on my areas of interest and political ideology.  I am particularly interested in defense issues, and chose to work with a defense lobbying firm for my last semester.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities? My daily activities included reports that included intelligence, cyber security, energy, stimulus updates, Federal Aviation Administration, F-16, F-22, F-35, and Broad Agency reports.  On top of weekly reports we had research assignments that included learning the language of a bill and doing legislative history on a particular project that the government has provided funding for.  On few occasions, a few interns and myself had to go back as early as 1996.  I also had the privilege of going to House and Senate Hearings, and met a lot of government officials.  To name a few; Senator John McCain, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Senator Joe Lieberman, General Casey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and many more congressional members. 

What is the best part of your internship? The best part was the experience and networking opportunities.  There really isn't a limitation to who you may meet or even try to meet for informational interviews and potential job opportunities.  I have spoken personally with Congressional Chiefs of Staff, a Secret Service Agent, Congressman, and members of the intelligence community.

What are the top two things you have learned? One thing that I have learned is that an internship isn't just about what learning about what you have studied in college.  It is a hands-on experience that shows you exactly what you like and what you don't.  You may not like your internship after a few months, or get bored with it, but you are always moving in the right direction.  Anything that shows determination and the will to succeed is invaluable to your resume' and your future.  Also an internship can really put you on the fast track to success if you utilize your time wisely.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else? I would definitely recommend this experience even if politics isn't your cup of tea.  The city, opportunity, and a drastic change in lifestyle can go a long way in preparing your for your career.

A quote from you regarding your internship experience? Washington DC has been an experience of a lifetime and an even more exciting way to end my college career at California University"


Eric Peccon - Fayette County Prothonotary Office


Internship Placement Name: Fayette County Prothonotary Office

How did you find your internship? While the political science department provides great opportunities through its internships in Harrisburg and Washington, I was looking for one that I could do close to home in the summertime and that also would give me experience working in a government bureaucracy.  A family friend who is a neighbor of the prothonotary suggested that I might be able to get an unpaid position in the courthouse.  Through the help of this friend, I was able to secure my internship. 

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities? Most of my daily duties involved assisting the office staff with managing civil court records.  Many of the duties that I performed frequently involved entering data into the computer system.  One of my most important tasks entailed the organization of court orders, which required me to make copies for all involved parties, mail these copies, enter a summary of the order into the computer, and properly file the original order.  Two tasks that I performed daily included checking and editing cases that had been newly entered into the computer system and preparing items which attorneys had requested to receive through the mail.

Among the variety of other duties that I performed over the course of my internship were searching for information required for the monthly sheriff’s sale, gathering and storing documents from the file rooms, monitoring cases for inactivity or final court orders, entering into the computer documentation of the reception of new case data, and stamping and sealing items to denote them as official. Part of the goal of my internship was to learn how lower-level bureaucracies connect with the court system.  I was afforded the opportunity to observe various types of trials, both civil and criminal, and to gain first hand knowledge about the justice system.

What is the best part of your internship?  The most enjoyable portion of my internship involved working with the office staff.  I felt comfortable in my working environment and was able to develop strong relationships with the people with which I interacted.  My co-workers treated me in a friendly manner and were very helpful in answering my questions and teaching me the basics of office procedures.

What are the top two things you have learned?  The practical lessons that I learned while working in an office for the first time are the ones that will stick with me more than the procedural and academic knowledge that I gained.  Seeing first hand how an office environment works, the coordination that is involved to keep things running smoothly, and the necessity of good interpersonal skills for interactions with both co-workers and clients were all important observations that I made about working in this type of facility.  I also learned much related to civil procedure and how the bureaucracy connects to the other branches of government.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else? I would recommend this internship for anyone who is planning on earning their political science degree to enter either a bureaucratic or public policy related job, as it allows students to gain great knowledge of administrative functions.  I also believe it may be helpful for an individual who would like to gain a law degree, as the courtroom experience that is gathered allows for a firsthand look at legal procedures.

A quote from you regarding your internship experience? While college classes are schooling me for my future career, only the hands-on experience of an internship can truly train me for a job in this field.  

Kelly Holsinger - American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania


Internship Placement Name:  American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter

Your internship title: Legal Intake

How did you find your internship? The organization's website: www.aclupa.org

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities? My responsibilities included: data entry, composing letters to complainants, making referral phone calls, attending weekly meeting with ACLU lawyers, and general office duties- such as filing and organizing.

What is the best part of your internship? My internship gave me valuable hands-on experience in a legal and political setting that will set me apart from my peers when I begin to look for a job.

What are the top two things you have learned? First, I have learned basic legal terms and strategies that will prepare me for Law school.  Second, I have learned that the ACLU represents only people whose constitutional rights have been violated by a government entity.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else? Yes!

A quote from you regarding your internship experience? The experience of interning at the ACLU has opened my eyes to the challenging and rewarding field of civil law and I will take from it a fresh desire to attend Law school.

 Victor Masciarelli - mCapitol Management


Internship Placement:  mCapitol Management in Washington, D.C.

Your Internship Title:  Lobbying and government relations firm.

How did you find your internship? The Washington Center Political Leadership program referred me to various lobbying firms.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities? My primary task is to contact Congressional staffers and federal agencies to schedule meetings for clients. I also plan a few political fundraisers for Representatives.

Tell me about the most fascinating person you have met during your internship. There are various individuals here who are fascinating. One is my primary supervisor, who was a Washington Center intern himself many years ago. He is compulsive when it comes to details and that obsession almost drove me crazy at various points in the summer. But that obsession is also what has made him such a vital member of the firm and helped him achieve his status today.

Another interesting person here is another head lobbyist. He is significantly older than the other lobbyists, but his age is to his benefit. He has acquired many business cards and contacts over the years. It is not uncommon to pass his office and overhear him talking on the telephone with various Senators and Representatives.

What is the best part of your internship? As mentioned, I really enjoy my adventures on the Hill. But I also love the opportunity to meet so many influential individuals in both the political and business sectors.

What are the top two things you have learned? 

1. To be respectful to everyone, regardless of status. At one point in your life, you will be high and low within groups. The experienced employees here are polite and kind to me, so I see empirically that it is not wise to disrespect those lower, as it was not long ago that the experienced employee was an intern.

2. Keep in touch with everyone you possibly can as much as you possibly can. You never know who will make it big one day. Do not burn bridges. Be a diplomat and politician in every situation. 

Would you recommend this internship to someone else? I would.

A quote from you regarding your internship experience? I arrived in D.C. thinking that I knew what my future career entailed. My internship, by exposing me to the vast field of politics, has broadened my outlook.