Leah Dean: Internship at the Office of Textiles and Apparel at the Department of Commerce

This summer I interned for the United States Department of Commerce in the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). I worked closely with my supervisor, Mary Lynn Landgraf, who is a Senior International Trade Specialist, on several different projects. The most notable project I assisted Ms. Landgraf with was helping her recruit participants for two major international trade shows (Milipol in Paris and the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) show in London).

At these shows, Ms. Landgraf displays and markets military textiles from different United States companies in order to expand their international client base. This summer I spoke with many of the clients with whom she previously worked in order to facilitate their attendance at these upcoming trade shows. Once clients signed up, I was in charge of making sure we received their payment and submitted all of their information to the company in charge of the trade shows. Additionally, I maintained correspondence with them throughout the summer to ensure they were kept in the loop about new trade show information.

In addition to working on signing up clients for the trade shows, I also helped Ms. Landgraf input and organize data from previous trade shows. She would use this data to provide the companies information about other companies who were interested in their products. Ms. Landgraf would often have phone conversations with her clients that she included me on so that I could meet them and better familiarize myself with the textile industry (of which I previously had no knowledge).

Furthermore, Ms. Landgraf had three presentations that she had me work on for upcoming textile conventions. I spent a large portion of the summer reaching out to different individuals who provided us with expert advice and information for these presentations. My main focus was on a government contracting presentation, which consisted of over one hundred slides. Ms. Landgraf guided me throughout the process and taught me how to put together a professional presentation.

Throughout my time at my internship, I was also given some other wonderful opportunities. I attended hearings on the renegotiation of NAFTA at the United States International Trade Commission. I also attended a conference on additive manufacturing in Arlington, Virginia and had the opportunity to hear many top innovative companies speak about the future of military technology.

Overall, my summer internship at the Department of Commerce was a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to learn many new skills and exposed me to the world of government. My supervisor, Ms. Landgraf, truly taught me along the way and provided me with many opportunities to learn and expand my knowledge beyond a classroom setting.

Written by Leah Dean, Dean’s Grant recipient, 2017