First, I want to refute what Annie said in the previous blog about Shake Shack. It is nowhere near anything as good as In-N-Out. Blasphemy.
Now here's my post.
My internship is with a consulting firm called Development Transformations (DT). Mostly, it handles government contracts for international development and military training work. Currently, DT has consultants in countries like Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen, among others, and trains soldiers and officers on military bases all around the country. DT approves grants and works on developing, stabilizing, and/or political reporting in each of these countries. The soldiers DT trains learn how better to communicate and work with community leaders in places like Afghanistan, to find solutions that help both the US and the individual community they are deployed to.
My job is mainly supporting these consultants by helping them plan their travel and keeping them well supplied and well paid, then going to embassies to get them visas (Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan so far) and supporting the home office staff (in DuPont circle) by researching current events and taking care of administrative tasks for them. The stories the people I get to work with tell are incredible, as most of them are brilliant and have extensive field experience working in areas of conflict.
Most of DT's funding comes from the government or private NGOs and charities. What this means is that a government agency, in this case either the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the Department of Defense wants to get something done, but can't do it directly, doesn't have the means to do it by themselves, or wants to let the private sector do something. The agency then releases a description of what it wants out into the world, and contracting or consulting firms like DT will try to demonstrate to the agency that they would be best able to help the agency out. The process is far more complex than this, and is partly responsible for issues like the initial Affordable Healthcare Act roll-out and some of the private military contracting going on, but also responsible for great things like a lot of foreign aid and the work DT does.
One of my favorite things about my internship is that although it has offices in California, DC, and Yemen, DT isn't an enormous contractor like many of its competitors, so I still get some of that small business feel. While there are certainly benefits to being an intern for a large organization, as the only full time intern, I get tasks from every member of the organization, from the Program Assistant to the Managing Directors. Instead of having 'the press intern', 'the social media intern', 'the development intern', 'the accounting intern', 'the receptionist intern', 'the research intern', and who knows what other kinds of interns, DT has Lucas. I get to learn how to do all of these things, and I get to feel more like a valued member of the team. If I need some advice about my summer plans or help with my research paper, I can get anyone in the office to take some time out of their day to talk it over with me. Again, this is not to say that people interning with larger businesses don't enjoy certain things I don't (like going to big events and talks every day, or running into the President in the hallway) I just want to illustrate the benefits I have found of working for a smaller business, and why I feel it was right for me.
I found my job because my boss went to Pomona and was actually in the DC program as a student. She sent an e-mail to Dr. Spalding who forwarded it around to the rest of us. As an ROTC cadet, the military aspect definitely appealed to me, and as a student of Arabic and international culture and development, the conflict stabilization work appealed to me as well. After consulting with friends who had worked in other offices I was thinking of working in, and doing some research of my own, I decided DT was the right call for me, and I'm glad I did. My boss is looking for another Claremont intern for the fall or summer and I can't recommend it highly enough. Please feel free to check out the website at DevelopmentTransformations.com or ask me about it any time.
Here are some pictures from the non-profit I volunteer with's trip to the National Cherry Blossom Festival event at the National Building museum. More to follow as soon as I can make it out to the actual cherry blossoms, the weather here has been ridiculous. The only nice thing about getting back from spring break in 80 degree Miami and landing in 38 degree, raining DC was seeing the cherry blossoms along the river on the metro ride back from the airport.
Also, congratulations to the class of 2018.
Until next time,