By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15
DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.
For Bai O’Donnell, a DePaul political science major, the best internship programs are the ones that feel just as important as full-time jobs, such as the United States Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI). “At PKSOI, interns were not treated like interns. We were never asked to file papers, make coffee, or mail letters. Instead, we were treated like full-time members of the PKSOI staff.” While that amount of responsibility was stressful at times, Bai found the real-world experience beneficial to her own career development.
The internship program at PKSOI allowed interns to work on projects that matched their area of interest. In addition, students also received their own mentor to assist them along the way. Bai developed a training model that coached UN peacekeepers on how transnational crime might affect the organization’s peacekeeping operations. Although Bai was raised in a military family, her experience gave her new perspective on military operations, and she believes it will do the same for other students. “Working on a military post, with high-ranking men and women in uniform, is an extremely humbling experience, and one will surely come to respect these men and women more than they ever have before,” Bai said.
Bai’s fellow interns really helped solidify her amazing experience at PKSOI. “My fellow interns were remarkable people. Many of them have traveled throughout the world, can speak multiple languages, and have even served in the military themselves. I got to experience people from all ages and backgrounds, which made the summer extremely fulfilling.” More importantly, Bai learned of different opportunities available within her industry from fellow interns. “PKSOI reaffirmed my wish to work for the U.S. government, and in many ways, provided a roadmap on how to ‘get there,’” Bai said.
PKSOI reaffirmed my wish to work for the U.S. government, and…provided a roadmap on how to get there.
Interning at PKSOI was a dream come true for Bai, who has known exactly where she wanted to intern since high school. “PKSOI was located down the street from my house. My goal was always to participate in the internship program, and I am extremely fortunate this wish came true,” Bai reveals.
“The key advice for any future intern is to always give their best, always take responsibility, and always be accountable—for the things that go right, and more importantly, for the things that will inevitably go wrong,” Bai explained.
Bai proves that with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve their goals.
Want to learn more about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.