A Unique Experience at USAID’s Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau

a woman sits on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the front door in the background

Participating in the UCDC program has been a transformative and enlightening experience thus far. Before interning at the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau, my experience was limited to local government work. While I enjoyed this work, I sought to expand my knowledge on how the government functions by interning at the federal level. Going into this internship, I had a particular goal in mind: to determine which level of government I should pursue after graduating. Within these past few months, I have made this and many other life-altering decisions. I am incredibly grateful for both the program and my internship for offering the resources necessary to make this decision in an informed manner.

UCDC has allowed me to take the skills I’ve gathered from working with influential Bay Area-based non-profit organizations and government entities and apply them to both the national and international level in D.C, where I can continue serving underserved communities, but on a larger and more impactful scale. This unique opportunity has significantly broadened my network. Now, I am in connection with professionals in possession of the firsthand experience necessary to create change, and they are willing to impart their extensive skill set and virtually limitless knowledge gained throughout their careers onto me. 

Although I was hesitant to do yet another virtual internship, the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau eased my fears as they provided diverse and relevant work directly supporting those working to advocate for USAID both in Congress and throughout the entire world. This work ranged from memo-writing, conducting research on reforming public procurement reform, 

and compiling briefers for one of the most influential figures in international policy: Administrator Samantha Power. These projects allowed me to work and connect with a variety of experts within the Bureau for Legislative Affairs and the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, where I was able to gain insight on navigating both international and national spaces. 

I am incredibly grateful to be selected as a Matsui Washington Fellow. This fellowship has eased the financial burdens that come with living in the nation’s capital, allowing me to be fully engaged in studying and working.