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Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute: Leadership and the American Presidency
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Benjamin France

Major: History, Political Science
Minor: International Politics
Hometown: San Diego, CA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was able to find this internship program online. I knew I wanted to intern in D.C. and was trying to find a program that would allow me to intern and take a class in political science. I stumbled up this website called dcinternships.org which was paired with the Ronald Reagan Foundation and thought the experience sounded awesome.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The program I participated in was called Leadership and the American Presidency. It was implemented by The Fund for American Studies and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute. This program allowed me to intern at the Library of Congress, take a political science class through George Mason University, and explore D.C.. I was able to visit the Capitol, The White House, Mount Vernon, Lincoln's Cottage, and meet and discuss politics with Members of Congress and Senators. I truly got the full D.C. experience.

This program impacted me on an academic level by allowing me to get a hands on experience with what I was learning in the classroom.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This program impacted me on academic level by allowing me to get a hands on experience with what I was learning in the classroom. The class was called Leadership and the American Presidency and our classroom was D.C.. Each time class met it was at a different location through D.C. which pertained to the certain topic we were learning about. When we talked about refugees and FDR we visited the Holocaust Museum and the situation with Jewish Refugees. When we talked about the Civil War and the great stress Lincoln faced we were at his cottage. My internship also allowed me to realize the inner workings of the federal bureaucracy. I was able to see the vast amount of work the Library of Congress does that many people have no idea even goes on. From copyright, research, and even your library you call your own.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals are to end up working in D.C. in some capacity. I would love to attend law school in D.C., work for a D.C. law firm and then end up in politics for the rest of my life. This experience impacted me because of how D.C. is, it's all about who you know and this summer allowed me to create numerous contacts that will be extremely beneficial in my later career. It also showed me that I could live in D.C. and love it.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes I would. This experience was amazing. Many of my friends' internships were 9-5 jobs and they did menial tasks and hope to get a job offer once they graduate. This experience was nothing like that, it allowed me to explore D.C. like I lived there and allowed me to create contacts that someone my age would not have the privilege of having. While the Library of Congress will not offer me a job once I graduate, it was not that kind of internship. It was preparing me for attending law school and getting into politics once I graduate from there.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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