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Eric Vinyard

Public Affairs Associate at Hick Partners

I went into school knowing that I had a ton of interests, yet fully realizing I had no real direction. I was in a similar state when I reached NAPA; ideas were carrying me everywhere, and I was looking to plant my feet on some solid ground.

Think of NAPA as a cross between a think tank and a consulting group. It conducts business with many different parts of the government, and in my mind, lots of clients meant lots of different work, ergo I would be exposed to a wide variety of experiences and learn more about myself. My assessment was right.

I interned in the summer of 2016, so my team worked on materials targeting the bureaucratic transition after November’s presidential election. We had multiple projects—one of which was drafting a document that detailed 100 of the “toughest’ positions in government. Each position had to be deemed critically important for the coming administration, and they had to be non-political positions (i.e. not some position that would be more of a talking head than a leader with actual responsibilities for their agency, department, etc.). We also attended seminars, white paper presentations, and tabletop events at other organizations that were aimed at improving different aspects of government and governance.

Yet, the most valuable thing NAPA offered me was freedom. I could explore and work how I wanted to without being micromanaged. Furthermore, I was treated like a real employee with work that was valuable and would be used to inform real-world decision-makers.

So what is NAPA like? It’s a fun and challenging environment, where you can expect to grow and learn. I could not have asked for a better place to jumpstart my career.

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