Name: Madeline Carter

Hometown: Edwardsburg, MI

Major: Public Policy

Internship placement: Research and Policy Analysis Intern at Forbes-Tate Partners


Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

I could have graduated one semester early after completing the fall 2018 term in Ann Arbor, but MIW seemed like a much better use of my time. On top of adding another professional experience to my resume, the program allows me the time to actually enjoy the elective course I chose. A semester where I’m not drowning in 5+ courses while bearing the weight of an off-campus job and extracurricular activities? It’s pretty sweet! I’m also getting to expand upon my research interests with great flexibility in PolSci 411 – the research methods course in which every MIW student participates.

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

I work at Forbes-Tate Partners, a bipartisan government affairs firm that specializes in political consulting and lobbying. A typical day at FTP includes research on current legislation (state and
federal) and candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. I’m frequently putting together biographies and press releases on candidates and current elected officials, meant to inform FTP clients. I write memos on new legislation, in which I analyze each section of a bill to determine how it might affect a relevant client’s organization. I also watch committee hearings taking place on the hill. I carefully listen and take notes on the opening statements, witness testimonies, and Q&A section, and am expected to produce a 4-8-page memo on the hearing within a couple of hours. The internship has drastically improved the speed and quality of my policy writing!

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

The elective I’m taking is called Youth, Social Media, and Development. The class focuses on how youth learning is impacted by technology, and the ways in which that relationship extends to international development. Though I have a background in economics, this is the first course
I’ve taken that focuses on investing (fiscally and in human capital) in populations outside of the US. It’s a new perspective that is truly shaping my ideas about education policy, domestically and abroad.

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

One of the best parts about D.C. is that there are so many free activities! I’ve really enjoyed checking out the Smithsonian museums, monuments, and farmer’s markets on the weekends. The Portrait Gallery and the Renwick are two of my favorite spots. Seeing the Lincoln Memorial at night for the first time is something I’ll always remember. As far as non-free things, I’ve rented kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on the Potomac River, found some amazing brunch spots (the food scene here is top-notch), and I just finished playing on an intramural softball team with my coworkers.

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

It’s about a 40-minute drive from D.C., but I really want to visit Shenandoah National Park before the semester ends!

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

The program is perfect preparation for someone who aspires to work in D.C. after graduation. With MIW’s assistance, I’ve practiced networking and met incredible DC-based UM alumni who are excited about helping me navigate the job market. It doesn’t matter if you lack prior
experience or knowledge. The program works hard to bridge the gap and introduce everyone to professional life in the city, regardless of your starting point. MIW serves as a thoughtfully guided, manageable gateway toward a career in policy, government affairs, journalism, or anything else D.C. has to offer.

MIW also does a great job of funding the program for students who need financial assistance. I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to afford living and interning in D.C. for a whole semester, but the program leaders worked to make it happen for me. I’m so grateful for the opportunities MIW has offered me, and I would recommend that any interested student should apply!