How I landed my internship in D.C.

Isabella Gmitrovic
June 1, 2022

Since my junior year of high school, I have always known I was interested in politics, non-profit work, and communication. Now, trying to tie all of this together has never been exactly easy, but when looking for opportunities to combine all of these interests, I never thought I would be where I am today. I am currently packing up my life at Augustana, and preparing to leave to live, learn, and work in the politically inclined town of Washington D.C. this summer.

My journey to spending a summer in D.C. began back in February, when I received an email from CORE about an internship and scholarship opportunity open to all students. The scholarship was provided by the Ronald Reagan Foundation for politically inclined leaders to take part in the Leadership and The American Presidency (LTAP) program.

This scholarship would pay for housing at George Washington University, a course accredited by George Mason University (taught by a former elected official and a Princeton professor), and participation fees for the LTAP program. I knew right away that I needed to apply for this opportunity, because not only would I be able to live and learn in D.C., but they would also help me to find a summer internship as well.

For this application process, I had to write a short essay about how this program would contribute to my academic and professional life. I also had to get a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, and submit my resume. About two weeks later I learned I had been awarded a full scholarship to participate in this program.

But, that was not the end of my journey. I still had to figure out how I was going to pay for airfare and food, all while being an unpaid intern in D.C.. Luckily, the political science department here at Augie has a grant opportunity for their students, and I also applied to that because I had already used my Augie Choice. I actually just found out yesterday (!!) I have been granted a stipend from the political science department, so, I am now able to go to D.C. and not really worry as much about my financial situation. Thanks Augie!

Finally, the last part of my journey to DC was figuring out my internship placement. After multiple consultations with my LTAP advisor, I landed a few different interviews at non-profit organizations. And eventually accepted an offer to be a Communications and Marketing Intern with the Prevention of Blindness Society. POB is a non-profit organization who provides glasses for people in need. They also own two thrift stores in the D.C. area called Look Again, and all of the funds from these stores go to providing children eye exams and eyewear! I will be assisting them in running their social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok) as well as writing press releases and emails to stakeholders.

If I were to give any advice to students I would say three things: 

  1. Reach out to CORE and the Study Abroad Office! They were all extremely helpful in finding this experience for me and making sure that I was prepared. 
  2. Search for grants. I was lucky enough to get a supplemental grant to cover travel and food for the trip through one of my majors, so see if your areas of study have anything similar. I would also recommend going to CORE for this, because they are knowledgeable about external grants available to students as well. 
  3. Start early. This process has been about four and a half months in the making, and I probably could have started sooner. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and start looking for summer internships early, because you never know what you might stumble upon. Good luck! 
Isabella Gmitrovic

Isabella Gmitrovic is in the Class of 2023. She is a political science & communication studies major with a MJMC minor. She is also the admissions social media chair and an admissions student ambassador.