"I had the opportunity to work in the office of Governor Bob McDonnell under the Governor’s Fellowship Program. Working in the Governor’s office provided me with first-hand experience of working in state government. The view from the inside looking out was quite different than what I imagined. I worked eight weeks under the Deputy Secretary of Technology, who then asked me to stay two weeks after the program ended in order to complete a project. My main task involved researching policies that would speed up the commercialization of intellectual property coming out of Virginia’s university system. Essentially, we were looking to see if we could use innovations generated in Virginia’s schools to impact economic development throughout the state. After several weeks of research, the Deputy Secretary and I developed a presentation to inform other State Secretaries and the Governor of our findings. This project is still currently being developed, and I had a major share of laying the foundation for any future results. My secondary task was a group project I completed with the other Fellows working in the Governor’s office. We made a plan for the development of a formal school inside a Juvenile Detention Center. We presented this report to the Governor’s Chief of Staff and Policy Directors who, in turn, used it as a framework for their policy decisions.
The first year of the MPP program prepared me well for this internship. The classes on Labor Economics and the Political Environment provided an excellent foundation for my experience. I found myself applying the principles I learned in those classes on a daily basis. Very few policy decisions get made in the Governor’s office without first considering the political environment. The strong analytical and research skills provided by the TJPPP proved to be especially helpful as my projects developed. Being able to analyze and interpret data proved to be an essential skill in determining the final policy outcomes of our project. The group papers and team projects required by the classes mirrored the collaborative environment I worked in during my internship. I firmly believe that my internship was a success because of the experiences accrued in the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy."