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Summer 2023 Internship Fellows

William & Mary's Public Policy Program provides financial support for selected undergraduate students who are considering unpaid or low-paid policy-related summer internships. In Spring 2023, we were proud to award four W&M undergraduates Summer 2023 fellowships for internships with the Commonwealth Attorney’s office in Portsmouth; on Capitol Hill; and in Paris, France with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Below are brief reflections from these students on their experience:

Ava Roberts '24


Ava Roberts, ’24, majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Accounting  

Internship: Commonwealth Attorney of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia)

Learning in a classroom environment provided me with tools, but my internship provided me with real-world experience… In my first week, I sat in on a murder trial. It was a gruesome process, and I found myself feeling weighed down by the emotions in the courtroom. For the first time, I was struck by the reality of being an attorney in criminal law. The trial lasted a week, and by the end of it, I was mentally exhausted yet inspired. A two-year-old child whose life was sadly taken finally received his justice. Despite how emotionally and mentally upsetting the trial was, I was able to recognize the importance of the prosecutor’s work. It encouraged me to work harder throughout the internship. 

Grace Sokoll '24

Grace Sokoll, ’24, majoring in Public Policy      

Internship: U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman (Washington, D.C.)

Working on policy issues was my favorite part of the internship. Congressman Wittman serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. Therefore, the Congressman has an incredibly qualified Military Legislative Assistant and a Defense Fellow from the Marines. During my internship, the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act was being marked up, so our office was hectic -- managing communications with the DOD, other offices, and the private sector. After I expressed interest in National Security to the team, they consistently forwarded me projects to work on that were incredibly in line with my interests and future goals. I covered hearings on the future of warfare in the Balkans, terraforming the Valley of Death, taxation and illicit trade by the CCP, and much more. Additionally, I had the opportunity to build a Google Earth map plotting the top 100 AI sites in the U.S. for the advancement team to use in planning the Congressman’s travel.

Alison Trahan '24

Alison Trahan, ’24, majoring in Public Policy and Government

Internship: U.S. Senator Mark Warner (Washington, D.C.)

This internship exceeded all of my expectations. Every so often, you hear about internship programs that stick their interns in a cubicle to essentially sit there all summer. This was not my experience interning in Senator Warner’s office. I had ample opportunities to participate in real impactful work, including working on a [legislative] co-sponsor memo, attending constituent meetings, completing health policy research, writing consistent letters, reporting on committee hearings and briefings, giving capitol tours, and answering constituent calls. Almost every day I got the chance to try something new.

Katelyn Oxer, ’24, MPP ’25

Katelyn Oxer, ’24, MPP ’25, with a focus on international development and human rights      

Internship:  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

My internship at PARIS21 on the gender team at the OECD was an amazing experience that helped me to solidify my interest in international policymaking. Focusing on the importance of availability of data in decision-making made me realize how crucial understanding the context of an area is while considering policy solutions. I was integrated as a full member of the team and was able to work on solutions that could help National Statistical Offices report their country’s statistics, such as reports on Voluntary Local Reviews and Citizen Generated Data, and tools such as Stakeholder Mapping to identify key actors in the space. Additionally, part of my work was on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which gave me a sense of what really needs to change to reach our goals in time and promote overall wellbeing. The experience broadened my viewpoint from being mostly U.S.-focused to working towards the betterment of all, and finding solutions to do so.