Sonali Chadha – Summer Internship with the Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

This summer, I was fortunate enough to have received the Sisselman Grant from
Newcomb-Tulane College to fund my summer internship in Washington D.C. I am endlessly grateful to attend an institution that was able to help me reach my dream of working at the Department of Education. This summer, I worked within the Office of Management, specificially in the Executive Resources Division, of the Department of Education. I was directly exposed to the processes of appointing, confirming, and receiving presidential appointees from the White House to the Department of Education. It was a fascinating look into the bureaucracy and complexity of how federal agencies operate and exist.

Working at the Department of Education was important to me because I am studying
social policy and political science and hope to work in public education policy when I graduate from Tulane. Being at the Department of Education helped show me the multifaceted way that public education is influenced by government and policies. Beyond that, working in a government administration I did not agree with was insightful and important to my personal growth. I am thankful I had the experience of seeing how people with opposite political beliefs than I do view public education, and it further motivated me in my goals of increasing equity in public education. Besides my actual internship, being immersed in the political environment in Washington D.C. was an amazing experience-from attending Senate hearings to the lively debate around me. Living in Washington D.C. is anything but cheap, so I am very thankful that I had a
grant from Newcomb-Tulane College that I used toward my housing . . .. Without this grant and my grant from the Center for Academic Equity, I would have been unable to afford my summer internship experience and feel that I would have missed out on an important professional development opportunity that will hopefully open more doors for possible internship opportunities next summer.

Written by Sonali Chadha, Sisselman Grant recipient, 2018