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From Student To Pro: Top TFAS Tips From Alumni On How To Make The Most Of The TFAS Experience


“What can I do to get the most out of my time here?” Students often ask this during orientation activities to learn how they can best leverage their TFAS experience. This summer we’re looking to our growing network of more than 14,500 alumni to give firsthand advice on how to maximize the TFAS student experience. Whether you interned in the nation’s capital or embarked on a culture experience abroad, we want to pass along your tips and tricks to our current and future students. No one knows the ins and outs of succeeding as a TFAS student better than you, so to kick things off, we spoke with some alumni who are passionate about sharing their stories.

Olevia Rumalutur (AIPE 14) is a master student at Parahyangan Catholic University Indonesia. She is majoring in international relations and is working on her thesis on Indonesia Diplomacy and Protecting its Migrant Workers. Rumalutu said, “One of the best moments in my life is when I was in Hong Kong last year with AIPE and joined the TFAS family. As an international relations student, it is important for me to enrich my knowledge, especially related to global issues. AIPE was my chance to learn more.”

What advice do you have for students transitioning to life abroad?
“We live in world of diversity, so it is important for us to understand differences, especially for someone who will go abroad. You need to be open-minded for anything that is different from your culture and customs. Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s bad, so just learn and you will find something new from it.”

Johnathan Lozier (IBGA 08) is the manager of legislative outreach for Women in Government where he serves as the channel of information from the organization to the legislators in the states and recruits for conferences and briefings on various issues throughout the country.

What is the best networking advice you can give to students?
“The best networking advice I can give is to be bold. Be confident, but not cocky – those are two very different things. You should be confident in yourself and know you are different. Knowing your self-value is important. Everyone has something unique about them; it’s about finding and channeling that to your best ability.”

As a TFAS student, Adam Barnett (CSF 14) interned with kglobal. Adam is a senior at Flagler College studying public relations with a minor in advertising.

What’s the best internship advice you can give?
“People notice your work ethic. Although you never know when it will pay off, keep working hard, go above and beyond in the things you do and ask questions. Finally, do the jobs no one wants to do, like taking out the trash, cleaning up the conference room after a client meeting or taking phone calls. You cannot start at the top because you can only fall from there. But, you can only rise when you start at the bottom.”

Aubree Weaver (IPJ 11) meets with her mentor at the TFAS Meet Your Mentor Breakfast in 2011.
Aubree Weaver (IPJ 11) meets with her mentor and classmate at the TFAS Meet Your Mentor Breakfast in 2011.

Following graduation from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., TFAS alumna Aubree Weaver (IPJ 11) returned to D.C. as the Program Advisor for the Institute on Political Journalism. Later that summer, she was hired by POLITICO as a web producer. Almost two years later, she continues her work in production as well as authors a daily afternoon policy newsletter for subscribers called Pro Report and contributes to the eHealth and education policy sections.

What’s the best internship advice you can give?
“No project is too small or too unglamorous. As an intern, you’re there to learn, and believe it or not, even the most minute tasks can be incredibly valuable learning experiences. Be the intern who accepts each and every project gratefully. That’s often overlooked, but certainly doesn’t go unnoticed by your coworkers and supervisors.”

Andrew Powaleny (IPJ 08) works in public affairs at a firm in Washington, D.C. Powaleny advises clients on communications strategy and message development. Prior to working in public affairs, he worked for nearly three years at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in the press office.

What’s the best internship advice you were given?
“If you have a badge for your internship, don’t show it off like it’s an Olympic medal.”

What advice do you have for students beginning their TFAS summer?
“I mean it when I say, ‘TFAS changed my life.’ Some of my best friends I’ve made through TFAS. The network of alumni is vast, and it’s amazing when you meet someone who you didn’t realize was one. The organization doesn’t just offer a summer internship experience – it opens doors. Make sure you go through those doors and seize the summer before it’s gone.”

Do you have advice for TFAS students or your fellow alumni? Tell us! Send an email to alumni@TFAS.org and you could be featured in an upcoming publication.



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