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Lauren Janssen

Intern

Over the past eight weeks, I have been blessed to have been placed with the National Academy of Public Administration with Randy Lyon and Marcia Vernon as my direct supervisors. From the finance perspective, the Academy is well-funded and is being requested constantly. The Academy works in a very efficient manner. They hold staff meetings once a quarter to make sure all employees are on the same page and know what is happening in other departments.

The mission of the Academy is “to provide non-partisan advice in order to assist government leaders in creating a more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organization” (www.napawash.org). Over the past two months, I can truthfully say that the Academy is fulfilling its mission, one organization at a time. It seeks to accomplish its mission by consulting with different organizations and showing them more cost-efficient or cost-effective ways of achieving the organizations’ personal goals. I was working with primarily the finance and accounting teams and thus, was unable to see much of the action that went into strategizing with the consulting organization, but many other interns were able to see this process in action with organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Maritime Administration, Project Management Institute, the Transportation Security Administration, and much more.

My internship experience with the National Academy of Public Administration has been one of the most rewarding summers of my life. I am able to do what I love in finance and accounting in addition to helping a wonderful non-profit achieve its goals. This time with the Academy has changed my perspective on how I see Washington DC. While Washington DC is our nation’s capital and has plenty of politics to go around, there are so many non-profit and non-governmental organizations that make it their duties’ to help others.

I have also taken the time this summer with my internship to grow into a professional both in and out of the office. I took every assignment seriously and never assumed any assignment or meeting was unimportant. It takes effort to become serious about an internship. Why would you be? It is unpaid and some employers take their interns for granted. Not at NAPA. I was treated like a real employee, not just someone who was going to be around for eight weeks. I felt as if I was part of the team and that made my experience so much more rewarding.

It has been said that many lessons are learned from making a mistake, and my experiences with the National Academy of Public Administration are no different. It is easy to be dedicated at the beginning of the internship because everything is new, fun, and fresh. It is so simple in fact, that it is easy to get caught up in making new friends rather than focusing on the job in front of you. I ran into this issue several times. With there being nine other interns in the office, I was caught up in making friends with them at first and not quite taking the time to focus on other projects and ask for more to do. I slacked off in the beginning but quickly realized that my job at the Academy was not to make friends but to make sure my supervisors were giving me the real on-the-job experience I desired. I did not apply to the Academy to make friends (although it is now a nice perk), I came to make connections with current employees that will be able to assist me in finding a job come October or November of this year.

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