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Events, alumni networking, courses, and internships for Penn students on campus and in D.C.

Student Blog

Every semester students participating in the PIW Semester program tell us how fantastic their experience is. Here are some of their highlights.

  • 8 State Department First Week

    One question that came up even during the interview was the question of availability. To show my interest in the internship, I told my interviewer that I was willing to work 40 hours per week. As far as I can tell, how your schedule turns out in the end is a combination of factors. Among the factors are how much you’re willing to put in for the internship in reality and how much your office relies on interns. On my first day, I said upfront that I would leave at 5:00; my working assumption was that I would work a standard 9-to-5 schedule.

  • Fellowships in D.C. by Melissa Cortes

    Fellowships in D.C. Thinking about moving to Washington D.C. after graduation, but nervous about finding a job? Washington D.C. is home to a variety of fellowships that are eager to have passionate college graduates working on important projects. Applying to D.C. fellowships is not like OCR. Think tanks, law firms, and other research centers are currently receiving applications for these positions. Fellowships typically range from six months to two years and offer competitive compensation.

  • 7 State Department First Day

    Surprisingly, I, a Ukrainian immigrant who visits family in Ukraine frequently, received my security clearance before the two born and raised Americans in the cohort who also applied for internships at State. The security clearance process can be tough. A former intern that I spoke to decided to take the risk and accept a position at the Korea desk, even though she was Korean. Even after receiving a security clearance, the State Department notified her at the last minute, right before she was set to start, that she would be unable work at the Korea desk.

  • 6 State Department Decision Time

    On Monday, the weekend after my interview with the Central Europe Office, I had the interview with the Policy Office. The same day, the Policy Officer offered me a position at the office and gave me a liberal singular day to decide. Now, I was in quite the predicament. Should I wait for the Central Europe Office to get back to me? Should I wait for other offices to contact me? Which office do I prefer? I decided, as before, to call for emergency help. On Monday, while at work, I scheduled a call with Dr. Martinez and reached out to the State Department contact from before.

  • Introductory Blog Post

    Hi everyone!

    My name is Danielle Yampolsky, and I am a senior at Penn concentrating in Finance at Wharton and minoring in Political Science. I am a Philadelphia native and first generation American, as my parents immigrated from the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago. In 2019, I had the honor of serving as the President of the Penn College Republicans. Now, I am spending this semester in Washington, DC (through Penn in Washington), where I will be interning for Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel at the Republican National Committee.

  • 5 State Department Callbacks

    After submitting my application, all I could do was wait. According to the instructions, the State Department would notify applicants if a bureau was interested in interviewing you by July 19th, which happened to be a Friday. Coincidentally, I had scheduled my flight to Ukraine for the following Monday. I figured I was in for a hectic weekend, if I was lucky. Or a really depressing flight to Ukraine. Either way, I settled in for the wait.

  • 4 State Department Help

    When I reached out to Dr. Martinez for help with the statement of interest, I honestly did not expect for Dr. Martinez to then put me in touch with a senior foreign officer at the State Department. As these things tend to go, I waited until less than two weeks before the application was due (something I earnestly do not recommend but something that inevitably happens to the worst of us), when I had finally tentatively written my statement of interest and chosen my bureaus, to ask for input. So, when I reached out to Dr.

  • 3 State Department Bureaus

    Choosing Bureaus and Seeking Help

  • 2 State Department Application Process

    In a nutshell, the application process for the State Department is thorough; not necessarily difficult or overwhelming, but definitely and most certainly long.

  • 1 State Department Intro

    The passing scenery, the hum of the engine, and the gentle rocking of the train offer the perfect opportunity to reflect on the journey I am about to begin, interrupted, perhaps ironically, by a short trip home. Home is truly a strange phenomenon. When my parents, brother, and I moved here from Ukraine, home, for a while, remained my grandparents’ house in the small village I grew up in. In those first few months, I remember shutting myself in the bathroom of our first apartment, crying on the floor while my mom tried to coax me out; I had little interest in the new reality.