Summer Internship Award Program Recipient Spotlight: Grace Williams – US Embassy in the Philippines

Grace Williams is a senior at DU studying International Studies and International Business. Through the Summer Internship Award Program, which provides funding for unpaid internships, Grace interned last summer with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines  as a Public Diplomacy Intern. We asked Grace some questions about her internship experience and here are her responses: 

What is your biggest takeaway from your internship? 

As a Public Diplomacy Intern for the US Department of State, I learned a lot about living and working abroad. While working at the US Embassy in the Philippines, I grew not only professionally but also personally. This internship really helped me develop my critical thinking and problem solving skills. Overall, I would have to say this internship really helped me become an independent young professional.

What were you most proud of during your internship? 

At the beginning of my internship in the Public Relations sector of the US Embassy in the Philippines, I had little to no experience with public speaking. By the end of my internship, not only was I comfortable giving speeches to 70+ groups of strangers, but I found myself at home on stage or speaking in public. I am immensely proud of this development because I have always been quite the introvert, so the fact that I am a confident public speaker means the world to me now.

Please share with us a funny moment from your internship:

Probably the funniest moment of my internship would have to be on my first day of work in the office. After I had just met my boss’s wife, I was walking away when I turned around to say goodbye and promptly walked into a wall. Like, full on walked into a wall in front of the entire office. There was a big bang and everything. Suffice it to say I just had to laugh it off when everyone was asking if I was okay. It was definitely a moment to remember.

What are your next steps in your Career and Professional Development journey? What do you plan to do after graduation? 

After graduation this June, I have an internship as an Operational Risk Analyst for Goldman Sachs in Dallas, Texas. After my internship ends, I will be returning to DU to complete my MA in Global Finance, Trade & Economic Integration by June 2021.

What would you recommend to other students applying for unpaid internships or the Summer Internship Award Program?

For any other students applying for unpaid internships I would recommend really researching your position’s responsibilities and the costs/benefits of the internship. If it is something you are really passionate about and will contribute to your professional development then definitely go for it. Unpaid internships can be really difficult to fund, so I would highly recommend applying for the Summer Internship Award Program. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to participate in this internship without it. 

*These responses were collected by our Career Peer Advisor, Walid Hedidar 

By Stacey Stevens
Stacey Stevens Director, Student Employment Stacey Stevens