Zoe Linder-Baptie, a dual MPP/MCRP student concentrating in Environmental Policy and Planning, spent her summer as a Public Policy Associate at the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (GCERC), a federal agency in New Orleans, LA.
She found that one of her greatest challenges was navigating the day to day tasks in the office. The GCERC staff did not have a formal internship program, so her role constantly changed based on the needs of the staff members. “My greatest accomplishment was laying the framework for the office to create a formal internship program so that in the near future they can host a student for a semester, summer, or year with confidence.”
She encouraged students seeking future internships to be flexible. “Being an intern often means helping out wherever is needed. A summer AFE is pretty short, so having realistic expectations about what you can accomplish in that amount of time can help you and the folks that you are working with.”
As far as career goals, Zoe believes that the internship with a federal agency has made her more open to working for the government than previously, since she now has a better understanding of the obstacles that government agencies face when trying to accomplish complicated multifaceted goals. In addition, she has a better understanding of government employee roles and responsibilities, and the ways in which these impact the day to day lives of these people.