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Internship Experiences at GAO

Leanne Small '08, US Comptroller General David Walker and Maurice Kent '08All students in the Thomas Jefferson Program for Public Policy (TJPPP) complete a compulsory internship between their first and second year in the program. These internships give students real-world policy experience, encourage them to explore potential future employers, jobs, and locations, and also help them to grow as individuals and professionals. Students return in the fall with a deeper understanding of policy and its effect on individuals, communities, businesses, and governments, a useful perspective to have as they complete their Master’s program.

Many of our students from the TJPPP Class of 2008 completed internships in Washington, D.C. this summer, at a range of government, private, and non-profit organizations. Two of these students, Maurice Kent and Leanne Small, interned at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) headquarters as analysts. Maurice interned on the Acquisition and Sourcing Management (ASM) team, working with various teams in their auditing process. He helped analyze the relationships and processes between the government and contractors, with the goal of improving the government's ability to effectively purchase goods and services.

Leanne’s internship took her to the Knowledge Services (KS) team as a Communications Analyst (CA), which gave her the opportunity to work with multiple teams in the GAO as their audit reports were finalized. Leanne edited and helped write reports on accountability for U.S.-funded weapons in Iraq, highway and public transportation investments, and the state of American public diplomacy.

While completing their internships, Maurice and Leanne took advantage of networking opportunities, one of which allowed them to meet Comptroller General David Walker, GAO’s chief accountability officer and head of the organization. Mr. Walker spoke with the two TJPPP students about their internship experiences, and after discovering that they are students at the College of William and Mary, beamed and told the two that they had chosen a wonderful school, one he thinks highly of.

The experience reminded both students of the opportunities the Program creates for them, and Mr. Walker’s enthusiasm was encouraging as they look forward to their last year as students. Mr. Walker’s commitment to public service, and his personal desire to recruit new talent were evident to both students, and was one of many satisfying experiences both had as interns at the GAO.