Summer Internship in Washington Prepares Future Leader

This summer, from May to August, Junior Patrick O’Brien interned at the United States Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. “The goal of the summer intern program is to equip future leaders with skills required to succeed in the 21st century workforce,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “This intensive learning experience will help these students better prepare for their future careers.” “There was an army of interns,” O’Brien said, “about 50 of us. We were all interns of the Secretary of Labor, but there were about 50 different internships because we were all in different departments.” O’Brien was placed in Chief Financial Officer’s group. According to O’Brien, “I was a political science major and contemplating an Economics major at the time, so they said, “‘you look like you’ve got management potential.” “I can tell you that [Patrick] is bright, energetic, and well-equipped with the speaking and personal skills that mark him with great promise for a future in politics,” Political Science Professor and O’Brien’s academic advisor, Stanley Brubaker said. Even though O’Brien was placed in the Chief Financial Officer’s group, he ultimately did not deal with the financial aspects of the department. Instead O’Brien ended up handling the department’s internet security-making sure that the website of the Chief Financial Officer’s group was protected and that the information was up-to-date.O’Brien originally intended to work in D.C. for the normal 10 weeks, but he was asked to stay for three more weeks. “They extended me three weeks longer because I was doing well and to see if I could learn a little bit more and become more useful,” O’Brien said. Although he admits that he felt a bit burned-out by the end, he still voiced great appreciation for the internship and all of its related benefits. “This internship has laid the groundwork for other internships in the future,” O’Brien said. “My wallet is just full of contacts and cards.”But he did not just meet adults who may help him later in life. O’Brien said, “I met a ton of kids working down there, from Harvard, Princeton, Yale. I kind of had this inferiority complex-these schools rejected me, so these kids must be better than me, but I found that I was right there with them. It was just cool to see that Colgate is right up there with those other schools.” O’Brien hopes to pursue a career in Navy intelligence and later the FBI. One of his favorite parts of the internship revealed that O’Brien may be well-suited for a job in these fields. “I got to drive around in a federal sedan with the lights on. I felt like, ‘Wow, I’m that guy now.'”