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The Intern Chronicles: Reflections from the Class of 2017

August 10, 2017

For another year, we’ve been fortunate enough to invite several students to join us for our summer internship program. Our program is even growing this year — with two additional positions added in 2017! 

To recognize these individuals’ contributions, we asked each of our interns to think back and provide us some of the most valuable things they learned or experienced during their time here at DDC. From tracking Affordable Care Act reform efforts to creating production code to support our technology, we want to thank all of you for your hard work and fun spirit this summer. We wish you good luck in your future school year.

Natalie Arwine

Department: Client Relations

School: Southern Methodist University

From being cast into the workings of the Hill to writing one-pagers on transportation and energy, it has been an exciting summer! As a client relations intern, I have been able to work with multiple teams and expand my knowledge of the political world in D.C. and around the country. My research has ranged from well-known issues such as pipelines and seaports, to lesser-known issues like the sage grouse. This knowledge is something I get to take home with me, but the real highlight has been the workplace. DDC has provided one of the friendliest environments, and my time here with the other interns has been unforgettable! Since week one, we have formed a bond that is unlike any other. I will never forget the part I played here at DDC, nor the intern “Jams of the Day.”

Brendan Shaw 

Department: Digital Media

School: Georgetown University

My experience at DDC this summer exceeded my expectations. Assuming that my position on the Digital team would focus on a very specific niche within the firm, I was surprised to find that the internship would give me a breadth of experiences to really understand how a public affairs firm functions. From designing social media content to sitting in on client meetings to brainstorming with the Creative team, I’ve been so fortunate to intern at a  firm where the people truly enjoy their work and each other’s company, but, above all, want you to succeed. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve gained this summer but, most importantly, for all the amazing people I’ve met here at DDC.

Michael Sanders 

Department: Client Relations

School: University of North Carolina

DDC helped me discover the public affairs space and how integral it is to this city — sitting at the crossroads of politics and communications. My time at DDC illuminated much more than an industry, however; it provided me an invaluable professional experience and furnished me with relationships that will endure for the rest of my career. The responsibilities with which my colleagues entrusted me were incredible. On the third day of my internship, I was chaperoning a client to his constituent meeting with a U.S. Senator. In this way, DDC literally gave me a seat at the table. Beyond these experiences, though, I am so thankful for the time and attention that everyone on my team and company-wide invested in me. Thank you, DDC, for a great experience! 

Danny Varela 

Department: R&D

School: George Washington University

Theory versus Practice — at school I learned the theory, and at DDC I acquired the practice. I’m completely satisfied with my internship at DDC; I was given a chance to work on production code and contribute to new products all while collaborating with product managers, product sponsors, architects, and directors. Overall, it was truly an amazing work experience. I recommend this workplace to anyone, and I can’t express how grateful I am for having spent 10 weeks at DDC. Special thanks to the R&D team for hosting me — thank you for all the memories, learnings, and experience. 

Lauren Semack

Department: Client Relations

School: Michigan State University

Coldplay has a song that says, “When you try your best but you don’t succeed,” and that quote is applicable to my summer — er… rather Congress’ summer trying different ways to reform the Affordable Care Act, and my daily job to track it. Coming to DDC, I figured it would be mostly private-sector work, yet in actuality, my internship allowed me to see every facet of the spectrum — from nonprofits to grassroots coalitions to media and the legislature. My research allowed me to become a more engaged student while illustrating how every cog in the machine works together to create this place we know as the District of Columbia. Beyond my research on healthcare, I forged relationships with the other interns, which created a camaraderie that only enhanced my time at DDC. 

Jesse Judish

Department: R&D

School: Washington University

As a software engineer, I really enjoyed my time at DDC this summer. During my time here, I was assigned meaningful work that both contributed to the company and helped me learn. I got to use new technologies such as Angular 2, as well as learn about DDC’s proprietary software applications and how everything works together. Everyone was friendly, fun to chat with, and always willing to help. Seeing the progress that the team made at the end of our regular sprint demos was always very cool, as we got to see the work that everyone was putting in, instead of just our individual work. I am very thankful for my time at DDC!










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