My Experience as a Department of Education Intern
My intern experience at the Department of Education was one that I will never forget! I never thought that as a high school senior I would have an opportunity to intern in a Federal Government agency, editing videos, creating stories, doing live video streams, and plenty of other media-related activities that I desire to pursue in my career. During my time here I have met and worked with fabulous people. It has definitely been a learning experience because it gave me a chance to be professional and independent. I actually felt like a full-time employee. I was able to do assignments for the Office of Communications and Outreach (OCO) and the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), which was great; I even used my media skills in OCO to produce a video for OII.
My first day as an intern I didn’t know what to expect, but I was eager to write, begin working with the cameras, and meet new people. I didn’t know very much about the Department, but I knew by being there I would learn plenty more. This eagerness brought success and all my wishes for a career internship came true, plus more! Being at the Department of Education well exceeded my expectations.
In OCO, I worked with three amazing people: Joshua Hoover, Leslie Williams, and Paul Wood! Seeing what they do every day and how hectic their schedules can get really excited me. It let me get a glimpse of how it will be for me in the future, which was something that I really liked. I could clearly see that they all enjoyed what they did and wouldn’t trade their jobs for anything in the world. Every day that I worked with the three of them I learned something new that I can take with me on the path to my career goal. They helped me to better my video editing skills, showed me how to work the cameras, and even allowed me to shoot a live streaming with Secretary Arne Duncan. They gave me advice on whatever I needed help on, and they didn’t mind showing me new things or explaining how things worked. Joshua, Leslie and Paul are an elite group of communications professionals.
In OII, Mr. Doug (Herbert) and Ms. Alise (Marshall) were a HUGE help as well. Even though I didn’t spend as much time with them as I did with Joshua, Leslie and Paul, every time I spoke to them I experienced positive energy and received great advice! They were responsible for setting up my internship by contacting my advisor at McKinley Technology High School, Mr. Gideon Saunders.
My major project was editing a 7-minute video about the 10th anniversary of OII’s Arts-in-Education grants. I worked with Clifton Jones and Shavonney White, who gave me their ideas and the idea of what they wanted and then sat through the editing process with me in the Department’s video-editing studio. This was big for me because I was able to finally put my editing skills to the test on a professional level on a project, which is very different from video assignments for school. I was glad that Paul, Leslie, and Joshua were able to support us with this task all the way through. They were very impressed with the final video and said we definitely captured our target audience.
My other assignments in OCO included helping to put together video clips and align the audio for “School Days,” which is a monthly overview of the activities of the Secretary of Education. After observing how this video journal is produced each month, Paul allowed me to lay down the audio in Final Cut Pro for the February edition, getting it ready for visuals. I also helped to edit B-roll (supplemental or alternate footage) for the February 2012 “School Days.” It was very exciting to see the finished product! The hands-on interaction I experienced gave me a tremendous feeling of pride. It definitely put the skills that I learned in school to the test! I received an invaluable understanding of what it is like to be a communications professional, including learning how things operate both in and outside of the studio with editing software and the camera.
Apart from all of these great opportunities, I was able to meet the Secretary of Education when I helped to set up several of his tapings. I watched Secretary Duncan do live broadcasts from the studio and I assisted Leslie with a live video streaming from the Secretary’s office. Getting a chance to talk to and be around the Secretary of Education on several occasions made me feel like I was on top. He was very cool and personal and I especially appreciated that he was interested in what I was doing and my future plans. I went from not knowing very much about Secretary Duncan to observing and even meeting him and really understanding his job. An employee told me that I was very cool because there are many people in the Department who never get a chance to be around, much less meet, him. That excited me!
Everyone here is friendly and very supportive of all the things I did. Their continual encouragement to do my best and strive for excellence really put a smile on my face every day. Not a single day did I come into work feeling bad because I knew I was coming into a happy place and dealing with great people.
I graduated with high honors and as a member of the National Honor Society from McKinley Technology High School on June 9. I am fortunate to have raised more than $65,000 in college scholarships. The most significant of these is a $24,000 scholarship from the Jack Donaldson Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is awarded by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). This award was presented to me at the WHCA’s Annual Dinner by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. This fall, I will attend Penn State University (University Park Campus), majoring in Mass Communications.
I enjoyed my spring semester internship so much that I decided to continue as a volunteer intern during the summer. I am so proud of my work that I have done at the Department of Education, and fortunate that all of these wonderful people supported me along the way. Being an intern at the Department of Education is where I love to be. I hope to return as an intern next summer, adding what I will have learned from my freshman year at Penn State.
Angel Brock served as an intern for the Offices of Innovation and Improvement and Communications and Outreach from February to June, 2012. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the Department of Education.