Michael Nachman '21 interned at the State Department during the 2020 spring term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at the State Department this spring. I did the majority of the work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but had a great experience nonetheless building experience and knowledge that directly relates to my academic and professional interests. One of the most positive parts of my experience was the opportunity to engage with several specific policy topics within the office’s mandate in ways that helped me develop a degree of expertise in narrow policy areas. Rather than work on issues and policy questions that are very broad, my projects allowed me to look closely at problems I would never have had the opportunity to study in a classroom setting. For example, I now know more about Sudan’s gold supply chains than I ever thought I would.
I greatly appreciated that much of what I worked on at the State Department fell at the intersection of my academic interests in government and economics. As a double-major in the two subjects at Dartmouth, it was rewarding to work on issues that spanned abroad range of my academic pursuits. Aside from foreign policy, the projects I completed are relevant to my past and future studies of economic development in low-income countries, labor economics, and international trade. Lastly, I was grateful to have formed connections with several of my bosses in the office, even though we met little in person. I received great advice about how to pursue a career at the State Department or in public service, and I enjoyed learning about the various paths they all took to get where they are. I was surprised to learn how many Foreign Service Officers have law degrees, for example, which expanded my understanding of the opportunities available in public service to those who go to law school.
The experience has also bolstered my interests in foreign policy work, economic development, and public service. As I enter my final year at Dartmouth and finish my government and economics majors, my work at the State Department will be at the front of my mind as I select my final undergraduate courses. This internship also helped me identify current gaps in my academic coursework that I hope to fill next year so that I graduate with the fullest possible proficiency in topics related to global governance and development. I imagine that this internship will also weigh heavily on me as I chart my still uncertain career path upon graduation. I am immensely grateful to the Rockefeller Center for funding this experience, but also for operating the many other extra-curricular programs I’ve participated in over the last three years that prepared me to excel in this role. First, I see my First Year Fellows internship at the D.C. Superior Court as critical to my preparation for this opportunity. While working in a judge’s chambers was a different form of office environment than my job at the State Department, having an office experience to precede this opportunity helped me adjust well to the norms, procedures, and expectations of work at the State Department. Even as I worked remotely, I am confident that having this background enhanced the quality of my work this spring. I would like to thank the Class of 1964 for endowing the fund that sponsored my internship. I am grateful for your generosity and your support for the College.
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.