The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: PAUL JEON '21

Paul Jeon '21 interning at Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President in Washington D.C.

Paul Jeon '21 interning at Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President in Washington D.C. 

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Paul Jeon '21 interned at the Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President during the 2019 fall term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report. 

This past fall, I had the privilege of interning at the Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President in Washington D.C. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) is composed of numerous component offices in support of the President of the United States. One such component is the Office of Administration (OA), which provides behind-the-scenes administrative support for the rest of the EOP. Specifically, I was placed in OA’s contracting office, which secures and manages government contracts for supplies and services. Across the twelve weeks of my internship, I was responsible for updating and maintaining my office’s contract database system, generating reports for the EOP component offices, drafting required materials and justifications, and editing documents outlining internal contracting policy and procedures in accordance with federal regulations and guidance. These experiences provided a more holistic view of the contracting process, and it was enlightening to get a glimpse into the world of government contracting from the government’s perspective. I gained a greater appreciation for all the careful attention and due diligence given by the government when procuring services and supplies– not only to ensure the efficient and responsible use of taxpayer dollars, but also to ensure fairness and competition in the selection of its vendors. The learning curve was initially steep, as I had no previous experience in or exposure to contracting; however, through the support of the office employees and supervisors, as well as the training afforded by my academic background in Economics and English, I eventually began to understand different aspects of government contracting.

Beyond my day-to-day work in the office, I especially enjoyed the unique opportunities afforded by working in such close proximity to the White House. In September, I attended the Australian State Arrival ceremony welcoming the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and had the opportunity to hear remarks from Prime Minister Morrison as well as President Trump. Additionally, in November, immediately following the Washington Nationals’ exhilarating World Series victory, I attended the White House’s ceremony on the South Lawn commemorating their achievement, during which the President narrated key moments of their postseason run, interspersed with the players’ remarks. As an avid baseball fan, I feel especially fortunate to have been in D.C. during the historic run, and to have the opportunity to attend such a ceremony – what a pleasant surprise, indeed! The internship program also coordinated tours of locations such as the West Wing, National Archives, and Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and through these events, along with lunches and intern workshops, I was able to build relationships with the other interns in the program.

I come away from this internship experience with greater insight into and appreciation for the work of the federal government and its employees – especially in the field of contracting. More broadly, my term away from campus has taught me practical skills that I anticipate will be helpful for life after college, skills such as: workplace etiquette and communication, navigating and relying on public transportation, and finding community in a new area. Additionally, I have a better understanding into what kind of work I enjoy and what kind of workplace environments I would thrive in, insights which are invaluable I consider career paths after graduation. Finally, I have a newfound appreciation for my Dartmouth liberal arts education which provided me the toolkit to adapt to working in the new and foreign field of contracting, and I am excited to continue my education when I return to campus in the winter. I am extremely grateful to the Rockefeller Center and Eric Janisch for supporting me through this experience and making this experience – and the new insights from it –– possible. 

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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