Walking across campus the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the constant barrage of fliers and signs put up by student groups. Sure, some were for purely social events meant to draw you in with a free slice of pizza, but most of them were focused on helping others.
Because I’m a finance major who’s looking to make a difference, I wanted to intern at organizations that had a mission or objective that I felt connected to. So when the recession hit, I decided to look for internships away from the big banks of Wall Street. Soon, I found myself at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability (OFS) in Washington, D.C., and I couldn’t have been happier.
Working at the heart of our government’s solution to the recession was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
While the Treasury Department’s headquarters is mainly a policy shop, the OFS stood out because it was also an operational office that was spending and monitoring taxpayer dollars through its various programs. Additionally, while much of the government is rich in tradition and history, OFS was newly created and had a startup feel. Employees had come from all across the public and private sector and were working toward a goal that everyone felt passionate about. This environment,and the people I met that created it,are what truly left the most lasting impression from my internship.
My typical day began in an essential part of the D.C. culture – the Metro. Once I arrived at the office, I became involved in a number of reports on various programs run by OFS. Some days I attended Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s hearings on the Hill, and other I gathered and researched information for one of our oversight bodies, such as the Congressional Oversight Panel. There was always work to be done, but it was incredibly rewarding to know that some of the work I was doing would eventually land on the desk of a representative to inform them of the OFS’s progress.
Spending my summer at the Treasury was an unbelievable hands-on experience with visible results, making it a truly unforgettable summer. It also didn’t hurt that I could walk through the halls and see the White House next door!