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Week Six of TFAS – Living, Learning and Interning in Washington, D.C.


During week six of the TFAS D.C. Academic Internship Programs, undergraduate students from across the world participated in a variety of Career + Industry Exploration sessions, professional development seminars, guest lectures, moderated debates and more. 

Lois Goh ’13 is a dedicated TFAS alumna volunteer who shares advice with TFAS participants every year. (Photo: 2018 Alumni Roundtable)

On Monday, July 12, a small group of International Affairs students learned about the World Bank from TFAS alumna Lois Goh ’13, who has worked with the World Bank for six years. An eager supporter of TFAS students, Goh offered advice and insight to students participating in the session. She encouraged students to conduct informational interviews with industry professionals as they begin the job search in order to build their networks and gain important career insights. 

“Informational interviews are key because D.C. is a place of connections,” Goh shared. “Be sincere and curious about what people do. When you set up an interview, simply ask for 10-15 minutes. Ask pointed questions, like which classes they wish they would have taken in school to help prepare them for their career and how their staff goes to lunch.”

International Affairs students had another small group session on Tuesday, July 13, where they learned about careers at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with Aaron Miles ’09, PPF ’13, a Foreign Service Officer working as the Acting Director of USAID’s Education Office in Tanzania. 

Jaffe explains what it’s like to cover the president.

On Tuesday night, Journalism + Communications students learned what it’s like to cover campaigns, politics and presidents with Alexandra Jaffe ’09, a reporter with Associated Press. Students in the Public Policy + Economics program participated in a student-led Braver Angels debate on universal healthcare policy. 

Wednesday, July 14, presented International Affairs students with the opportunity to learn from Shannon Hayden about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Students in the Business + Government Relations program discussed whether the federal government should increase the minimum wage for their Braver Angels debate.

One International Affairs student, James Motamed ’20, ’21, participated in the TFAS Virtual Summer Program last year and decided to apply again this year to get the full Washington experience. 

“I did the Public Policy + Economics program virtually last summer and found it very rewarding, but I knew that I wanted to try it again in person,” Motamed said. “I think this program has definitely made me reach out of my comfort zone and meet a lot of new and interesting people. I’m very thankful for this experience.”

I think this program has definitely made me reach out of my comfort zone and meet a lot of new and interesting people. I’m very thankful for this experience.” – James Motamed ’20, ’21

Estonian ambassador to the U.S. Kristjan Prikk spoke to International Affairs students on Thursday night.

On Thursday, July 15, embassies welcomed students in person and virtually for a series of briefings. Chile, Oman, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and The Netherlands embassies opened their doors to host students in person while the Great Britain, Australia and Estonia embassies hosted students virtually. Embassy officials and ambassadors briefed students on each country’s economic and political issues, relations with the U.S. and other topical information. The students were given a chance to ask questions about the country and policy issues. On Thursday night, International Affairs students learned about Estonia, a bulwark against Russian revanchism, from the Estonian ambassador to the U.S., Kristjan Prikk.

TFAS hosted 12 Career + Industry Exploration small group discussions on Friday, July 16:

Business + Government Relations

  • Brian Lopina – Lungren Lopina: Boutique Government Relations
  • Jessica Gandy – Institute for Justice: A National Law Firm for Liberty

International Affairs

  • Mike Callesen ’16 – Foreign Policy Careers on the Hill: Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Jomain McKenzie ’09 – United Nations Careers
  • Edward Pinos ’17 – National Security Careers

Journalism + Communications 

  • Marina Minas ’15 – Inside the Fox News D.C. Bureau
  • Robert Bluey – The Heritage Foundation: Think Tank Journalism 
  • Jim Forbes – 25 Years of Journalism and Communications

Leadership + the American Presidency  

  • Eddie Bridgewater – Bluetext Digital Marketing: Branding and Public Relations
  • Donald Williams Jr. – Careers at the U.S. State Department: Pickering Fellowship

Public Policy + Economics 

  • Rob Simpson – Bullpen Strategy Group: Insider’s View of a Public Affairs Firm
  • Jessica Leung – The World Wildlife Fund: Diversity Programs

Over the weekend, students will participate in a variety of activities and excursions: kayaking or canoeing on the Potomac, hiking at Roosevelt Island, or touring the art and sculpture gardens on the National Mall.

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