Interning at State

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Chloe Rosenberg, COL ’22

This summer was one of the most informative and exciting summers of my life. As a rising senior at Penn studying International Relations, Hispanic Studies, and International Development, it was my dream for many years to work at the United States Department of State. This summer, that dream became a reality.

As an intern at State, I had the opportunity to work on matters of national and international security. I worked alongside foreign affairs experts, gaining exposure to high-level multilateral diplomacy. From day one, I was put to work researching, writing, editing, and creatively thinking on ways to problem solve and communicate with senior leaders effectively. Due to the sensitive nature of my work, I am not able to disclose the projects I got to work on and responsibilities I had. In general, though, I gained exposure to the world of foreign policy, a vast network of professionals in the United States government, and direct hands-on experience in the field of international security. I worked full 40 hour weeks for 10 weeks — almost completely virtually — alongside a fantastic co-intern from another university. Other than my research, writing, editing, and communication tasks, my workdays were filled with check-in calls with my supervisor, several large internal State calls, inter-agency calls, and sometimes even international calls with foreign counterparts.

One of the highlights of my summer internship at State was visiting the office in-person and living in DC for two weeks. It was a thrill to walk the halls of the Harry S Truman building and know that everyone inside the office was committed to the same mission of advancing America’s foreign policy. This close proximity to real foreign policy leaders was not merely theoretical. In fact, on my second day in-person, I entered the building just as the King of another country was walking in (yes, I was only a few feet away!).

This summer internship was critical for me to gain insights and exposure to the world of public service. For years I have studied international relations, political science, and history. For years, I had daydreamed about applying my academic background and transitioning to working in the public sector. Finally, this summer I had the opportunity to “graduate” from the classroom and into the real-world, not only to view diplomacy in action but actually participate in it.

Looking towards the future, I have a redoubled confidence and eagerness to one day rejoin the public sector workforce. I hope to return to State or similar governmental agencies as a full-time employee. In the meantime, I am looking forward to completing my studies in my final year at Penn.


By Career Services
Career Services