Name: Olivia Regnier

Hometown: Novi, MI

Major: Political Science; International Studies; Environment; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Internship placement: Department of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Balkans Office

Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

Since high school, I’ve always imagined that I’d end up working in DC one day. As someone nearing graduation, I decided to do Michigan in Washington in order to gain an idea of what my post-grad life may look like. After six semesters on campus in Ann Arbor, the idea of spending a few months in the nation’s capital seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Michigan in Washington gave me the opportunity to complete an internship and simultaneously take classes, something that would certainly wouldn’t have been easy and maybe wouldn’t have even been possible if I didn’t participate in MIW. I’ve gotten the opportunity to try out the career I may pursue one day and figure out where exactly is the right place for me in the crazy, professional, adult world.

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

As an intern in the State Department’s Balkans Office, I was the first person to arrive at my office every day. That way, I was able to send out a daily summary to our bureau officials detailing what has happened in the past 12 hours in the Balkans. After that, I helped with whatever I could. I planned swearing-in ceremonies for ambassadors to the region, drafted an energy strategy and compiled a research database for South Central Europe. One of my favorite parts about being an intern was having the opportunity to attend events across the State Department and provide readouts for colleagues in my office. At such events, I had the chance to meet the Secretary of State, the President of Albania, distinguished researchers and experienced State Department employees. The Department employees nearly 70,000 people, so there are many people to meet and many opportunities to take advantage of. 

What elective did you take and what was the most interesting part of the class?

The elective I took is called Youth, Social Media, and Development. The most interesting parts of this class was the guest speakers. Our class had the opportunity to hear from employees at the World Bank, Search for Common Ground, and DC Alliance of Youth Advocates. It was also an interesting experience to be in class with students from other universities across the country, an experience unique to MIW.

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

As a college student on a budget, DC is an amazing place with plenty of free things to do. On weekends, I liked to check out the cities museums. Some of my favorites include the Renwick, the National Geographic Museum, and the Hirshhorn. When I needed an escape from big city life, I like to walk down to the Georgetown waterfront or take a day trip to Shenandoah National Park.

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

The biggest item on my D.C. bucket list was to see Hamilton. Thanks to the Cultural Enrichment Fundfrom MIW, I was able to purchase a ticket to see Hamilton at the Kennedy Center. Attending along with two other MIW students has truly been the highlight of my D.C. experience. While my time at D.C. is quickly coming to an end, I’d still like to make it to the National Portrait Gallery before the semester ends.

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

Any student who has an interest in working in D.C. after graduation should apply to Michigan inWashington. MIW provides you with three months of exposure to everything DC has  to offer. You get the chance to network, navigate the city, and complete a valuable internship experience. This is the perfect short-term option to figure out if D.C. is the right place for you. Even if you’re not sure, my advice would be to give it a try.