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Meet Four Interns on a Mission for Positive Change in Government

January 11, 2024

By Performance.gov

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The first priority of the President’s Management Agenda focuses on Strengthening and Empowering the Federal Workforce. A key component of this effort is improving Federal internships by creating a centralized hiring portal for all Federal interns, eliminating unpaid internships, and building pathways for interns to enter the full-time Federal workforce. In this blog, we shine a spotlight on four interns whose contributions have been instrumental within government agencies.

Internships serve as stepping stones for young professionals to gain experience before entering the workforce. At Performance.gov, we celebrate the outstanding contributions of interns who are making tangible impacts within government agencies. By supporting interns, we are helping build a future workforce that is talented, diverse, and committed. This approach aligns with the government’s goal of fostering well-prepared workers capable of facing challenges both in the near and long term. Read on to get to know four former interns and the unique paths they forged!

Kevin Cabral, NASA Intern Turned Podcast Prodigy

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Kevin Cabral, NASA Intern

Meet Kevin Cabral, a Multimedia Production Intern at NASA Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program Office. Kevin played a pivotal role in producing NASA’s first-ever Spanish-language podcast, ‘Universo Curioso de la NASA’. In his current role, Kevin provides invaluable support to the podcast by consolidating all the work done outside of editing by the podcast creator, Noelia González. He assembles the content, ensuring it is ready to be shared online for digital audiences worldwide. Kevin’s role represents the final step in bringing the project to fruition. His work highlights the importance of effective communication in science, making complex concepts accessible to diverse audiences.

He recounted his experience of witnessing the OSIRIS-REx mission while on-site in Utah as one of his internship highlights. This was the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid. He never imagined he’d have this experience as an intern.

Dwane L. Larkin, an Architect of Fairness at the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board

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Dwane Larkin, U.S. Railroad Retirment Board Intern

Dwane L. Larkin plays a crucial role at the Office of Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (USRR), helping employees handle challenges and ensuring fairness and justice in the workplace. He has written approximately 25 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and is responsible for organizing commemorative events and recruiting speakers for these sessions. Dwane’s advice for aspiring government interns underscores the importance of understanding the specifics of the position they are applying for and taking the opportunity to network and learn from senior professionals. Dwane attributes much of his leadership growth to valuable interactions with senior leaders, highlighting the transformative impact such engagements can have on professional development.

Valeria Rodriguez’s Soaring Journey at the Federal Aviation Administration

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Valeria Rodriguez, Federal Aviation Administration Intern

Valeria Rodriguez, now a Foreign Affairs Specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), began as an intern supporting the Foreign Affairs Specialist in her region. During her internship, she prepared eBooks for events and supported interagency projects such as the Blue Lightning Initiative in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation.

Having progressed from her initial role, Valeria subsequently served as the Caribbean Foreign Affairs Specialist before assuming the position of Foreign Affairs Specialist for Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia. Her advice for interns? Network and ask questions – there’s no limit to learning. A standout moment in Valeria’s internship was moderating an event with Secretary Pete Buttigieg for National Intern Day–a testament to her dedication and valuable experiences during the internship.

Katie Keim’s Evolution: From Intern to Policy Expert

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Katie Keim, U.S Office of Personnel Management

As an intern, Katie Keim played a vital role in reforming the Health Benefits Program for the U.S Office of Personnel Management. Her tasks involved detailed policy analysis, drafting proposals, and contributing to high-level discussions. Katie’s advice to fellow interns is simple but powerful: apply to many places and explore various opportunities. Her favorite moment was shadowing the Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management, an experience that showcased the impact interns can have at the highest levels of government. Katie is now working for the University of Michigan as a Student Coordinator for the Public Service Intern Program.

These interns’ stories underline the significance of internships in government agencies. Their experiences prove that interns are more than observers; they actively contribute and bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. These interns are not just shaping their futures, they are actively molding the future of government agencies and, in turn, the nation. To all future government interns, learn from these inspiring individuals, ask questions, and believe in your ability to make a difference. If you are interested in exploring internship opportunities in government agencies, visit the Federal Internship Portal.

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