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National Intern Day Spotlight

Published on 7/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
By Sydnie Harrell, Office of Undergraduate Studies at Texas A&M University

July 29 marks National Intern Day, a day when organizations recognize and acknowledge interns for their achievements. These apprenticeships are becoming a common requirement of employers and degree plans; Texas A&M students have the opportunity to fulfill this demand by pursuing leadership and development internships through the Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP). Currently, PPIP has 25 members interning in Austin, Texas and 12 in Washington, D.C. Two are featured below.
 

Matilin Rigsby – Washington, D.C.
Matilin Rigsby, PPIP intern with Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) and Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

Senior Matilin Rigsby has two PPIP internships in Washington, D.C. this summer: one with the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) and one with Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). During her internships, Rigsby has worked closely with the international project development team at GCCA and with Congressional Affairs, Stakeholder Engagement, and communications teams at ASPR.

“My largest project thus far at GCCA is an ongoing effort to update their website to reflect the accomplishments of the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) throughout its history,” Rigsby said. “At ASPR, I created a Microsoft Access database that lists over 3,000 stakeholders. As an aspiring epidemiologist, this hands-on learning experience is invaluable to my future educational and career endeavors.” 
 
One of Rigby’s favorite memories thus far into her internship is when she visited the Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day; she said she reflected on how fortunate she was to have the opportunity to work and live in Washington, D.C., and she saw President Biden and Vice President Harris while paying her respects. Because of what she has learned and experienced, Rigsby encourages others to participate in PPIP.

“The PPIP experience in D.C. has pushed me completely outside of my comfort zone, providing me with an enriched sense of professionalism and maturity,” Rigsby said. “This opportunity has enhanced my professional skill set and passion for public service beyond what I could have ever imagined. I strongly urge any student who has a similar interest in public policy and steadfast career goals to consider applying for the program.
 
 
Devin Graham – Washington, D.C.
Devin Graham, PPIP intern with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) under the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Senior Devin Graham is interning with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) under the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. Within BARDA, she works for the Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe), a health security division.
 
“As an intern, I have been conducting market research on several potential ‘areas of interest,’ identifying emerging technologies and innovations in these fields, and then advocating for future investments,” Graham said. “To do this, I must first analyze what the current landscape looks like, what already exists in industry and academic sectors, and then identify what opportunities may exist for DRIVe.”
 
Throughout her internship, Graham says she has learned the process of market research and developed networking and communication skills. Along with this, she has formed friendships with her fellow interns and experienced hiking at Shenandoah National Park, visited several Smithsonian museums, and observed the US Capitol Rotunda.
 
“Having moved across the country with 20+ other Aggies, it’s probably not surprising that we’ve had countless fun and impactful experiences,” Graham said. “As a cohort, we were determined to make the most of our time in DC, and we truly have. I’ll forever be grateful for these amazing memories with these amazing people in this amazing city.”
 
After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Graham plans to return to Washington D.C. to pursue a master’s degree. She says the internship inspired that decision because it showed her potential career paths and opportunities. In the future, she hopes to have a career in Bioterrorism and Infectious Disease.
 
“It has been invaluable to build such a network in the field and city in which I hope to work,” Graham said. “I am so immensely grateful for PPIP, my internship with BARDA, and the entirety of my experience in DC. I cannot recommend this program enough. Not only was this opportunity professionally formative, I have grown so much as an individual by pushing myself to accept this challenging but life-changing opportunity.”
 
PPIP offers internships year-round and anticipates international internships to return in summer 2022. For information on how to apply, logistics to consider, and to read more about current interns, visit ppip.tamu.edu.

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Media Contact: Anna Transue, transuea@tamu.edu