Amanda Bibbins '17 on Interning in Washington, D.C.

October 06, 2015

Amanda Bibbins

Amanda interned at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

What's your major and graduation year?

I am majoring in international relations.

What drew you to your program?

I had the privilege of traveling to different countries when I was in high school. I vividly remember being in Nadi, Fiji and being told by my instructors not to walk outside of a few designated shops. It made me feel like a tourist, so I snuck out and walked around the downtown streets, writing what I thought and felt in a journal. I did a similar thing in a Maori Village in New Zealand. Needless to say, I was a liability to my instructors. But when I stopped feeling like a tourist, every part of me was engaged. Studying international relations is the closest I have come since to feeling that same level of intellectual engagement and whole-hearted wonder.

What's your favorite part of your program?

I like how international relations equips students to "see the whole board." I'm a better, more creative problem solver when I can think about global crises, who they affect and how. Much of international relations uses thoughtful analysis to draw parallels between history and current events to look at issues from every possible angle.

What's your favorite class you've taken so far?

POLS 220: International Law and Organizations. It taught me about the purview of governments, NGOs and multinational organizations like the United Nations. POLS 220 helped me understand the importance and relevance of institutions that are often undervalued.

Where did you intern this summer? What was the application/interview process like?

I interned in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. I applied online -- which was followed by a phone interview. The whole process from application to acceptance took about three months.

What's one of the best experiences you had at your internship?

I'll never forget Secretary of State John Kerry's Q&A session with the interns on my last day. 400 of us gathered in an auditorium to hear him speak about Millennials in politics. It was incredible to hear him express his gratitude for our contributions in the midst of such a busy summer for him. It also hit me that, as a Massachusetts native, Secretary Kerry had been my Senator for most of my life.

Do you think you'll want to work in this field after you graduate?

Absolutely! I'm currently continuing my work with the State Department's Africa Regional Media Hub by working remotely from Boston.

What's the greatest lesson you learned at your internship?

The work you do has to excite you. The people I had the pleasure of working with were knowledgeable and driven. They had a genuine desire to see communications done well. They held themselves accountable -- and taught me what they knew without hesitation. In that environment, it was impossible not to be excited every day.

What's your Simmons moment?

In my first year writing course, my instructor told me to apply to the Honors Program because she believed I was a strong writer. Two years later, I'm in the Honors Program.

I love Simmons because it encourages individualization and leadership. My education (in and out of the classroom) has been one long course in leadership development. My "moment," if you will, was that one instructor taking the time to show me the first step to becoming a leader.