My Internship at the Department of Defense

In Summer 2019, I was fortunate enough to intern for the Department of Defense in the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency. 

When I was searching for an internship, I was specifically looking for availability in Raleigh, NC. However, when looking for a federal position, local internships are quite rare to come across. I searched on every week looking for internships, and I came across a job posting for a position available in Raleigh, and I applied! 

Duyen Pham.

During the interview, one of the many questions they asked me was about my research experience with Dr. Jessica Liao on the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. The interviewer, who became my supervisor, was interested in my understanding of the topic as it is relevant to the national intelligence strategy. 

It took roughly two months between the initial call for the phone interview to when I received the job offer. The position did require the applicants to be able to obtain a security clearance. So after I received my job offer, I worked on multiple applications to be processed for the clearance. Even though my internship ended in August, my clearance is still being processed. 

The experience was less intimidating than it appeared to be. I was the intern in a small Residence Office under the Field Office. I assisted with administrative tasks pertaining to defense contractors. I was able to participate in monthly office meetings with the team from the Field Office through classified video conferences. I also had biweekly meetings with other interns from headquarters and throughout the country. 

Some of my most exciting experiences include driving down to the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to get my identification card to be made and going out with my supervisor to meet different defense contractors and companies. 

Through the internship, I was able to take a sneak-peek into the daily lives of the civilian defense employees who all worked so tirelessly to serve the mission of the agency and to protect our national security. I have gained a new understanding of the national defense and security strategies. 


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