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Project on Government Oversight

Internship Insights

What former POGO interns have to say

Andrew Wyner

Before heading to Harvard, Andrew Wyner spent the spring and summer of his 2011-2012 gap year interning at POGO, where he helped start projects investigating government consultants and a defense contractor that dealt arms to Syria. He also contributed research to POGO's Inherently Governmental Report, which documents contractors who perform government services, as well as to projects focusing on the revolving door, scientific integrity, and the Freedom of Information Act.

"Right from the get-go, I felt so involved in the organization and was able to meaningfully contribute to a number of projects, ranging from contracting to financial oversight. I also got to experience firsthand the way D.C. truly works, attending Capitol Hill meetings and congressional hearings. Most important, though, is that in my six months at POGO, I worked with some of the brightest, most dedicated, and passionate people I have ever known."

Lydia Dennett

Hartwick College graduate Lydia Dennett came to POGO as an intern in the winter of 2011. Lydia worked extensively with POGO investigator Ben Freeman on matters relating to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, building a database of individuals who have registered under the Act as lobbyists for foreign clients. As part of her research, she regularly visited the Department of Justice and wrote posts for POGO's blog. She is now a POGO research associate.

"I came to the Project On Government Oversight as an experienced intern with three other internships under my belt, but my experience at POGO was by far the best. ... Although the people are amazingly kind, generous, and intelligent, the best part of interning for POGO is that it's not just paperwork. You can have the opportunity to make a difference."

Nina Brekelmans

During her summer 2009 internship, Dartmouth College student Nina Brekelmans worked closely with several whistleblowers as part of POGO's investigation into corruption at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She also had the opportunity to meet with the director of the Office of Government Ethics while researching an amendment to the Federal Advisory Committee Act and to collaborate with POGO investigator Michael Smallberg on several blog posts.

"All of the staff was very welcoming, helpful, and unintimidating right from day one, establishing such a great office environment that I often forgot I was at 'work.' Nevertheless, they (we!) accomplish so much. ... I could tell that, whenever I discussed work with my D.C. intern friends, my experiences at POGO made them envious."

John Cappel

Princeton student John Cappel interned with POGO during the summers of 2008 and 2009. While here, he contributed research to a report on the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, attended a congressional hearing on small business contracting reform, and worked to update POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. He also edited congressional testimony for POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian and General Counsel Scott Amey. 

"I was already halfway done with applications for congressional internships for this summer when I realized that few internships, congressional or otherwise, were likely to match the combination of meaningful work and a friendly environment that I experienced in my internship at POGO last summer."

Kelli Baldwin

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student Kelli Baldwin spent the summer of 2008 at POGO investigating Inspector Generals (IGs) at various government agencies. Her research was heavily utilized in two POGO reports on IG accountability, as well as in blog posts and press releases.

"What stands out to me more than anything from my time spent at POGO is the genuine appreciation that each staff members has for the interns and their intellect. Projects are given to interns that respect their ability to craft ideas and commentary independently, while at the same time the staff encourages questions and consistently gives remarkably thoughtful answers. ... I can honestly say that I woke up each morning excited to go to work, and during the summertime, that is quite extraordinary!"

Abby Evans

Davidson College graduate Abby Evans interned with POGO during the summer of 2008. She contributed research and writing to a POGO report on inadequate protection for whistleblowers at the Office of Special Counsel, which aims to protect those who expose government misdeeds. She also sat in on an interview with Carrie Johnson, a former Washington Post reporter who focused on government secrecy issues, and helped edit and organize the handbook for POGO's Congressional Oversight Training Series. Abby now works as POGO's development assistant.

"Interning at POGO has been an incredibly rewarding experience because the staff is patient enough to teach me, gutsy enough to rely on me, and smart enough to challenge a girl who focused on literature, creative writing, and theatre in college.

I applied to intern at POGO because I wanted to push myself beyond my comfort zoneto do something I knew very little about because I wanted to test this theory:

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt
William Shakespeare; Measure for Measure (1.4.87-9)

I have won so much this summer."

Jesse Ferrantella

While interning at POGO during the summer of 2007, Duke University student Jesse Ferrantella researched the process of weapons acquisition in a major defense program; his work on future combat systems was included in several POGO reports. He also contributed to POGO's Inspector General investigations and began studying the littoral combat ship, an ongoing POGO project.

"At first, I was a little intimidated by the staff and other interns (who are rock stars in the field of oversight), but at POGO, they tap into your talents, and sometimes you even surprise yourself with what you can achieve. The Project On Government Oversight is fast-paced and widely respected in both the non-profit and political worlds, and the interns play a vital role in that succes."