Summer Internship: Learning Foreign Policy at DipNote

Posted by Aaron C. Bruce
September 3, 2010
Harry S Truman Building

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



New Mexico, USA
September 4, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:


Good luck on your next adventure, and you gave me a good chuckle as you described your hallway encounter...

You run into someone you see on TV a lot in person and there's this natural tendancy to "pinch youself" for a quick reality check and then go into star-struck mode.

As an intern 20 years ago in a recording studio, I had to get over that real quick or I couldn't do my job, as I was working with some rather famous people.

To illustrate this "strangness" it was "Gene Hackman week" on TV (before all this digital age transpired) and every morning I'd been opening up the studio prepping for voiceovers for the "Come Fly the Friendly Skies." United Airlines commercial as second eng. that Gene was narrating in our iso-booth.

After about three days of this I was taking a break and Gene was complaining about the producer "over producing" him...a little grumpy....and being a non-working moment I told him, "You know Mr. Hackman, it's a little odd for me to see you here." He looked sharply at me and asked "Oh? Why's that?" I told him about it being "Gene Hackman week" on the tube, "and here you are in the flesh, it's such an odd experience." He laughed and said, "What was on last night?" I said "Marooned." And he just went off on a very funny rant about how they had him stuck in "that space capsule for take after take" and suddenly the pesky producer in LA wasn't an issue anymore. All the tension had been broken and we got the session finished without any hassles.

You gotta remember folks are simply human, and "good morning" works too.




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