Feature Story

CAPITALizing Opportunity

December 1, 2014 – by Emily Feldmesser ’16

Ohio Wesleyan student Emily Feldmesser ’16 has spent fall semester as an intern at The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. She is working in the organization’s communications area as part of a Wesleyan in Washington experience. (Photo courtesy of Emily Feldmesser ’16)

While looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to spend a semester abroad. When I found Ohio Wesleyan University, I was thrilled to see all of the different off-campus programs. I joked to my parents that I would spend more time off campus than actually on it.

But it was hard choosing a program. Did I want to go to Spain? Italy? Australia? I didn’t see a program that really drew me in. Until I found out about Wesleyan in Washington. I remember going to an informational meeting at the beginning of my sophomore year, and I realized this was it.

I knew I wanted to go into international affairs and/or journalism, and I thought D.C. would be the perfect place for both. I also thought that by completing this program, I could figure out whether I wanted to live in D.C. when I graduate, and whether I actually wanted to pursue a career in what I’m studying. I liked that the program was so individualized, that I would be the one choosing my internship. I made a list of about 15 organizations where I wanted to work and set out applying.

My goal was to work at The Brookings Institution, but I thought it was a reach. Brookings is considered the top think tank in the world, so I thought the odds of getting an internship there were very low. Still, I applied and hoped for the best. Imagine my surprise when I got an email to be interviewed for a communications internship within Governance Studies. I interviewed and found out I had the job the next day.

Being a communications intern, my responsibilities and jobs change daily, which has proved to be a really nice atmosphere. My main jobs include writing Tweets for the Governance Studies Twitter, helping out with events, compiling media databases and editing scholars’ papers. However, there have been days when I’m the one writing the blog posts. Granted, they can’t be published under my name because I don’t have a Ph.D., but I still have some authorship.

I’m surprised by the amount of writing and editing opportunities. Being exposed to those tasks makes me more confident of my career direction. I have a stronger idea of what I want to do when I graduate, and I have a clearer path of how to get there.

Through my time at Brookings, I’ve met some amazing people who have shaped the way I think about policy issues and my worldview. The events I’ve attended have exposed me to ideas and topics, giving me new perspectives.

My time in Washington has been one that I would not trade for the world. It exposed me to so many ideas and people that I would not have been aware of if I had not come to D.C. It has cemented the idea that I want to be in D.C., and I want to be in the realm of what I’m studying at OWU.

It definitely has been an experience of a lifetime.

The Wesleyan in Washington program is hosted and managed by Ohio Wesleyan’s Arneson Institute for Practical Politics and Public Affairs. Learn more about the internship program and the institute at https://www.owu.edu/academics/departments-programs/department-of-politics-government/arneson-institute/.