Name: Taylor Shotwell

Hometown: Commerce, MI

Major: Political Science

Minor: Gender, Race, and Nation

Internship placement: Partnership for Public Service

 

Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

I actually found out about MIW when I was applying to the University of Michigan. I always considered spending a semester abroad, but I thought it was great that Michigan had a program where students could intern and take classes for a semester in Washington, D.C. The first class I took as a declared Political Science major was “American State
Government” with Professor Bednar, who is the current Director of MIW. After
learning more about the program, I knew it was perfect for my academic and professional
development. The program has allowed me to explore different career paths and
research interests. I also have a strong desire to return to D.C. after graduation this May and I have been able to form a professional network through Michigan alumni and my internship.

 

What do you do during a typical day at your internship?

I currently work at the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on making the federal government more efficient and effective. At the Partnership, I am interning on the Programs team, specifically within the Research and Evaluation
enabling function. One of the things I love about the Partnership is that I have a broad portfolio that allows me to interact with federal agencies, private sector partners, and Partnership staff. For example, every year the Partnership releases the Best Places to
Work® rankings and I have been tracking agency heads in Salesforce for when the rankings are released. I also frequently attend conference calls with federal employees and leaders, and put together documents to inform Partnership staff on customer experience, employee engagement, and data-driven practices in agencies. My favorite project has been researching
best practices in customer experience by evaluating agencies’ online strategy plans and administrative data. Customer experience is important because it encompasses the interactions people have with an agency, which can shape their view on that agency, as well as the government in general. I have enjoyed attending roundtables and workshops with federal employees and expanding my knowledge of the structure and management of agencies. My internship has enabled me to improve my writing skills and ability to summarize information to inform a variety of audiences.

 

Which elective are you taking and what’s the most interesting part of the class?

The elective I am taking is called Campaigns and Elections with Professor Ken Goldstein. I have always been interested in campaigns and wanted to take a class that was unique to my D.C. experience. The most interesting part of the class is learning how to analyze polls and the strategies needed to win an election. I have enjoyed taking the class during the 2018 midterms and being able to apply what I’ve learned to real life. 

 

What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?

There are endless things to do in D.C. and I enjoy being able to explore new parts on the
weekends. My two favorite museums are the Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I love watching the sunset at the Jefferson Memorial and walking through the monuments. I recently used my cultural fund to go to the Newseum and highly recommend it.

 

What’s something on your D.C. bucket list?

I am hoping to get a tour of the Capitol before the end of the semester.

 

What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?

Michigan in Washington has been the highlight of my undergraduate career. MIW works hard to develop your networking skills and connect you to Michigan alumni. I think one of the greatest things about MIW, and D.C. in general, is the number of Michigan alumni who are willing to help you. Although I am not in Ann Arbor, it is comforting to know that I have an alumni network who is excited to help me start my career and adjust to D.C.
There have been multiple times where I have been wearing a Michigan shirt and have
received a “Go Blue!”.  If any student is interested in MIW, I would strongly recommend applying to the program!