“ABPA is doing great things for Arab-American students, and I am appreciative of the sense of community among Arab-Americans they have helped to foster in the DC area!”

One of our students, Ines Oulamine, is currently interning at the Department of Energy! Ines is a student at Georgetown University, where she is majoring in Regional and Comparative Studies with a focus on the U.S., Middle East, and North Africa. Amid the hustle and bustle of the D.C. atmosphere, she kindly agreed to answer some brief questions about her experience as a federal intern! DOE has been one of ABPA’s partner organizations for some time now, and we were delighted to place such a bright student at their organization.

Where did you intern in this semester and what were some of your favorite projects? What impact did this internship have on your professional development? 

I intern in the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Energy. Specifically, I work in the Office of African and Middle Eastern Affairs. The breadth and depth of the projects I work on represent what I appreciate most about my internship. Every day, I am empowered through my work to learn about the energy sector of a new country as well as its relationship to the US, other countries, and international organizations. For instance, over several weeks, I learned how to compose the daily news and market report that our office circulates. Compiling these reports was excellent for learning how global politics impact energy markets. This project also allowed me to apply economic concepts I have learned at Georgetown to real life. At the same time, I have been able to take a deeper look at certain issues through extended research, analysis, and writing. Altogether, at DOE, I am able to learn about energy and US energy relations while contributing to my existing knowledge and skill set! Going forward, I hope to maintain this growth mindset. 

What was the most impactful experience or encounter during your time in Washington, D.C.?

This internship gives me the opportunity to exit the “Georgetown Bubble” and visit another area of D.C. The “Bubble” is also about who you are around, and my colleagues at DOE have given me a new, assuring perspective on professional life which is different from the narrative on campus. I have really appreciated learning from them!

What are some skills you learned in your internship that you can apply to your future career? 

In college, professors usually notify students of deadlines several weeks in advance. In the Office of International Affairs, projects are very time-sensitive. In writing, clarity and succinctness are prioritized. At my internship, I have practiced the abilities to write and think clearly and critically in smaller amounts of time. Working in the Office of International Affairs also requires comfortability with understanding and using economic data. Through my projects, I have exercised and developed this skill.

What are some tips and recommendations you have for other students interested in an internship in D.C.? 

I would recommend that students not be discouraged during the application process, since it can take time to find the right fit. Students applying to internships should research not only the department’s overall function but also the role of each office or bureau within it. They may find that there are many offices and bureaus that align with their interests in departments they had not previously considered!

How has ABPA helped you along this journey?

I am deeply grateful for the generosity of those at ABPA who have supported me in gaining an internship in the federal government! Even though I was studying abroad when I was first accepted into the internship placement program, ABPA kindly advised and guided me throughout the semester. ABPA ultimately connected me with the Department of Energy, and my internship in the Office of International Affairs has been one of my most fulfilling professional experiences so far. At DOE, I’ve gotten to sample working in government, apply what I have learned at Georgetown, and meet exceptional colleagues. Overall, ABPA is doing great things for Arab-American students, and I am appreciative of the sense of community among Arab-Americans they have helped to foster in the DC area!

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