About the Author: Aaron C. Bruce served as a Summer Editorial Assistant to DipNote.
There we sat, side by side, around the conference table. We, the Public Affairs summer interns were nervous, but also a little lethargic, as most of us had been sitting in the same position throughout the preceding practice session and pep talk. But now the moment had arrived, and it was time for the young Public Affairs interns to give their presentations in front of Assistant Secretary of of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley and other U.S. Department of State directors and officials.
As I told the group assembled that day, to say that my time in Public Affairs was rewarding is an understatement. It doesn't adequately capture the vast wealth of information and insight I have gained in foreign policy issues. Every day of the job presented new and unique challenges and opportunities; the learning curve was steep; the pace, brisk. On my first day, I was asked to read and highlight Secretary Clinton's speech on Internet freedom. A scant two weeks later, I found myself drafting story pitches to multiple State Department bureaus, monitoring trending headlines among major news outlets for content relevant to foreign policy issues, and wrangling breaking stories around our YouTube channel.
At times, I was a little daunted by the scope of the opportunities that were there. Even a conversation in the cafeteria could turn into a learning experience, as I mingled with people from throughout the Department. And you never know who you're going to meet in the hallways. One day, I turned a corner and was shocked to see Secretary Clinton approaching. I managed to get out a "good morning," and she replied. In a way, the incident sums up my time in Public Affairs: unusual, inspiring, and rewarding.
It's never too early to start making plans for next summer, and I encourage anyone who is interested in foreign affairs to consider applying for a State Department internship. You can find more information at careers.state.gov/students.