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Penn State Law students head to Washington, DC for challenging internships

One of the best ways to gain experience and make connections within government is to intern with a federal agency. While you don't have to live in Washington, D.C to find an internship with the federal government, it is the best place to be if you are committed to pursuing a government career, which is what seven Penn State Law students are doing this semester.

Overseen by Professors Lance Cole and Camille Marion, co-directors of the Center for Government Law and Public Policy Studies, the Semester in Washington program allows third-year Penn State Law students to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. working for academic credit at an approved federal government agency or nonprofit organization.

“My work at the Department of Justice – Tax Division has allowed me to work with the brightest minds in tax law and to see how tax law is applied at the federal level. Simply put, it is a wonderful, enriching experience,” explained Thomas Miller ’11, intern at the DOJ, Tax Division, Financial Litigation Unit.

Students work approximately 32 hours per week and attend a weekly seminar on federal regulatory and legislative practice taught by the program’s on-site facilitator Stanley Brand, a Distinguished Fellow in Law and Government in the Law School’s Government Center and a prominent Washington attorney.

“Professor Brand’s experience working in top-level staff positions in Congress and on high-profile cases in private practice gives students exceptional insight into federal regulatory and legislative practice in Washington, DC,” said Cole.

The program serves as a capstone experience for law students who are committed to pursuing a career with the federal government or a nonprofit organization involved with federal policy issues. The program directors work individually with students who are interested in the program to help them find internships that will further their future career goals and build upon their prior law school studies.

Moussa Traore’s internship with the American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative, is helping him to fulfil his desire to work at the nexus of law and international development. “Penn State Dickinson’s commitment to offer students a well-rounded education by pairing theory with experience in programs like the Semester in Washington, D.C., gives me the opportunity to learn more about legal work in the development industry,” said Traore ’11. “Through my internship with ABA ROLI, I hope to understand how development-based programs are used to statutorily transpose international human rights convention provisions into the legal systems of developing countries."

Additional student-internship placements this semester include: Carolina Aguilar ’11 – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Megan Anderson ’11 – Internal Revenue Service; Charity Miller ’11 – U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section; Thomas Stanzoni ’11 – U.S. Senate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; and Carrie Taylor ’11 – National Labor Relations Board.

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