The Class of 2023 Robertson Fellows have finished their first year of graduate school and are settling into their summer internships, focused on furthering their interests in public service. From internships at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to the Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs Research team, RFG Fellows are working around the world to support government offices and learn more about public service.

Jacob Emont (Maxwell ‘23) is interning in the U.S. State Department’s Embassy in Tunisia.

“I am very excited to see diplomacy in action and better understand the inner-workings of the State Department’s foreign posts,” Emont explains. “Like many people, I think my interest in public service stems from a desire to be a force for positive change and progress in the world. Though it is not without its difficulties, I have seen throughout my studies and career so far that the public sector is where substantial change can be made, and I would like the opportunity to be a part of, and shape, that change.”

Megan Whinna (UMD SPP ‘23) is interning with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs Research Team and is excited to put her interest in data analysis and research into practice.

“I am really excited for the opportunity during my summer internship to take ownership of a research project and get to see that research through from a conceptual hypothesis to reporting my findings using a ‘real world’ data set,” Whinna elaborates. “I think this is an amazing opportunity to directly apply skills I have learned in a classroom to marketable job experience.”

Emont, Whinna, and the other first year Fellows will spend the summer interning in offices, learning about government operations in different departments, and supporting critical missions around the world. While some of our Fellows will be in-person this summer, like Emily Ashbridge (Bush ‘23) who is interning at the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in Hawaii, some internships continue to operate remotely.

RFG Fellow Cody Arigo (UMD SPP ‘23) will intern remotely with the UMD Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security. Christina Baker (Bush ‘23) and Naomi Atughonu (UMD SPP ‘23) will also be interning remotely with the GAO.

As part of the Fellowship program, RFG supports students as they seek to find matches for their summer internship experiences. As Emont explains, “The Robertson Foundation for Government afforded me an incredible opportunity with the Fellowship, which provided me the means and motivation to go back to school and pursue a career in public service. Additionally, RFG has provided essential guidance throughout my studies, which has been key to my search for an internship and eventually a career after graduation.”

In addition to their internship experiences, First Year Fellows are attending a series of professional development programs designed to strengthen their skills, broaden their professional networks, and expose them to new and exciting career opportunities in the Federal Government. Programming includes sessions with RFG Alumni who will discuss strategies on how to best succeed as an intern, Federal Government policy memoranda and communications writing workshops, roundtable discussions on the security and refugee crises in Ukraine, and networking opportunities with public sector professionals in Washington, D.C.

We look forward to sharing more about their summer experiences and highlighting their stories this Fall.