• Intern Spotlight Series: Sydney Lyn Lewis
    by ASowah@doc.gov on August 5, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Intern Spotlight Series: Sydney Lyn Lewis August 5, 2022 ASowah@doc.gov Fri, 08/05/2022 - 09:32 Sydney Lyn Lewis is an intern in the Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program for the Office of Habitat Conservation. In this intern spotlight, she shares her experience as a summer intern, working in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is the final installment of a seven-part series. Can you share a little bit about yourself and why you chose the U.S. Department of Commerce for your internship? I am a rising senior, an undergraduate student studying marine science at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. I am originally from Colorado Springs; CO and I chose to go to UH Hilo for my degree because they offer ample field experience for undergraduate students. Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to participate in coral reef surveys, humpback whale counts, sea turtle and monk seal rehabilitation, boat operations, and more! My favorite free time activities include night snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking, painting, playing the piano, and hanging out with my dogs. I am very excited to share that this summer I had the opportunity to further my education of the ocean via an internship with the U.S Department of Commerce. Specifically, I interned with NOAA’s Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program and I chose this internship because it offers a comprehensive experience that actualizes scientific research with policy. Moreover, not only have I learned about the ecology of deep-sea corals and sponges but also how the United States is conserving these habitats as a part of fisheries management. What have you been working on during your internship? I have been developing an inventory of the projects funded by the Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP) since it became operational in 2009. This inventory will be used to assess the effectiveness of the program’s funding efforts and will be used to inform the delegation of future funds. In addition to this inventory, I have been developing a complementary interactive dashboard that can be used to explore the different patterns and trends of funding in relation to the expected outcomes of a project. What have you learned during this internship that you can apply in the future? One of the most valuable things that I learned during this internship is how to be comfortable with asking questions and reaching out for collaboration. I came into this experience with a strong data science background, but with very little knowledge of the deep-sea coral program. This situation felt complicated to me because my task was to create a spreadsheet, capable of capturing all of the important qualities and accomplishments of the projects funded by this program. And so, I was challenged to speak plainly about where I was confused and when I needed someone else's expertise to help me execute the task at hand. In addition to working more collaboratively, I became more comfortable with the slow, meticulous nature of data science work. I have become more aware of the pacing and need for vigilance in moving a valuable, but repetitive project, like this forward. Tags Interns

  • Intern Spotlight Series: Samantha Swartz
    by ASowah@doc.gov on August 5, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Intern Spotlight Series: Samantha Swartz August 5, 2022 ASowah@doc.gov Fri, 08/05/2022 - 09:11 Samantha Swartz is an intern in the Commerce Department. In this spotlight, she writes about her experience as a summer intern. This is the sixth installment of a seven-part series. Can you share a little bit about yourself and why you chose the U.S. Department of Commerce for your internship? My name is Sam Swartz, and I am a rising junior at Brown University studying International & Public Affairs and Entrepreneurship. I am a member of Brown’s Entrepreneurship Program and provide consulting services to non-profit organizations in the Providence community. After hearing Secretary Raimondo speak at school, I was inspired by her pragmatic approach to pursuing a more innovative, equitable, and resilient economy for all. Since understanding more about the Department of Commerce’s wide reach over a range of important policy areas, its focus on providing opportunities for those who have been systemically and historically barred from economic opportunities, and the unprecedented amount of funding it had recently received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I knew that this internship would not only complement my deep interest in bolstering public-private partnerships for economic advancement but also expose me to a diverse set of policy issues that I wouldn’t get anywhere else. What have you been working on during your internship? As an intern in the Implementation Coordination Office (CIC) in its first few months of existence, I have supported the successful implementation of infrastructure and related programs. CIC’s entrepreneurial team has implemented new metrics for success, instituted data governance practices, identified and managed enterprise-level risks, and provided proactive oversight to bureaus and programs. I have compiled an environmental Permitting Action Plan, created presentations summarizing a report for a new department-wide data governance initiative, assisted MBDA with the State Small Business Credit Initiative by researching minority-serving non-profit incubator and accelerator programs, set up processes to prepare for the passage of CHIPS, called Native American Tribal leadership to increase awareness of an upcoming internet and broadband grant deadline, assisted in coordinating NOAA grant roll out, worked on Census Bureau Center of Excellence initiatives to standardize data and reporting, coordinated with agencies to answer monthly data calls from the White House, and prepared for and executed CIC’s first ever Cross Portfolio Review with Deputy Secretary Graves and bureau directors. I am so grateful for all the wonderful people in my office, in the Department, and all the fellow interns who I have met and learned from over the past two months. What have you learned during this internship that you can apply in the future? I have learned how to multitask, meet deadlines, and coordinate disparate groups of people – skills that I will apply to every task I take on in the future. While working with the innovative CIC members, I have also gained valuable insight into the process of instituting objectives, setting up key performance indicators, coordinating different groups, evaluating program success, and implementing new best practices. I have strengthened the listening and communication skills necessary to garner support for a new organizational recommendation, as well as experienced the challenges and opportunities that come with instituting fundamental change. In the future, I will continue to collaborate with diverse groups of people to increase the efficiency of any organization I join, while also staying mission-oriented and value-driven in the pursuit of impactful results. Tags Interns

  • Intern Spotlight Series: Margaret (Meg) Lillis
    by ASowah@doc.gov on August 4, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Intern Spotlight Series: Margaret (Meg) Lillis August 4, 2022 ASowah@doc.gov Thu, 08/04/2022 - 10:42 Margaret (Meg) Lillis is an intern for the International Trade Administration’s Global Markets, Office of Africa. In this Q&A, Meg writes about her experience as a summer intern for the Department of Commerce and what’s next for her. This is the fifth installment of a seven-part series.  Can you share a little bit about yourself and why you chose the U.S. Department of Commerce for your internship? I am a Master's in International Relations student at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, where I concentrate on China and development. This summer I am interning with the International Trade Administration’s Global Markets Office of Africa. Because of the growth potential of the continent and China’s significant investment in it, I chose this internship to better understand the work the United States is doing to build its own relationships and influence. I also wanted a chance to focus on studying the region, learning about it from a business perspective, and learning from those with a lot of experience working in certain countries in Africa.   I am originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, and attended Lafayette College as an undergrad. After making DC home, I have enjoyed staying active with the Washington Field Hockey Association and biking around the city. My 9-year-old rescue cat, Leo, has kept himself busy watching birds and roaming around my AdMo garden since he moved in with me in February! What have you been working on during your internship? I have been primarily working with the Foreign Commercial Service teams in Africa performing market research for U.S. companies looking to expand into African countries. This research includes understanding whether the local populations would have a need/desire for the products or services, and if so, which companies already operate in the country that would be competitors or potential partners for the U.S. company. If there seems to be a market for the product or service, the FCS Officers can arrange meetings and site visits for the U.S. company. I have also worked with the U.S. headquarters team as they prepare briefing materials ahead of conferences and meetings. For example, I helped prepare one for Deputy Assistant Secretary Richardson to use for a panel discussion in Marrakech. What have you learned during this internship that you can apply in the future? Gaining an understanding of the preparation required for each meeting and statement has been invaluable. I did not realize how many people work behind the scenes to ensure that messaging and statements are coherent and do not contradict the work and messaging of other departments. Further, I learned how committed the United States is to helping American companies do business abroad. This has greatly influenced my understanding of U.S. trade policy and decision-making.     Tags Interns

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