Government major

Tag: Government major

The US Government Accountability Office

The federal government is full agencies that go by well-known acronyms, like the FBI, CIA and DOD.  However, have you heard of the GOA?  GOA stands for the Government Accountability Office.  While not a sexy name, the GAO is an important part of the federal government.  As part of the legislative branch, the “GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”  Their work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is required by public law.  The Government Accountability Office is commonly known as the “congressional watchdog”.  When significant amounts of taxpayer money are found to be wasted or inappropriately spent, often the GAO is the first agency to notice.

For students looking for government internships, the GAO should be considered.  For the last two years, the GAO has ranked number one in the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work rankings among mid-size federal agencies.

In addition to internships, the GAO offers a Professional Development Program for recent graduates that focuses on developing entry-level staff knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet GAO’s mission through work experiences, training, and ongoing coaching and feedback throughout a two-year program. Staff are generally rotated among GAO’s mission teams or placed in staff offices. 

David Trimble from the Lawrence class of 1982 (Philosophy) currently works at the GAO and says working for the GAO is “in many ways it is the perfect fit for anyone that appreciates a liberal arts education.”

For more information, click here for details on GAO internships and here for more about the GAO Professional Development Program.

Virtual Student Federal Service Internship

by Jonathan Hogan

Among the internships offered by the Department of State, the most accessible in terms of acceptance rate while also granting interns valuable insight into a career in the State Department is The Virtual Student Federal Service internship.

The Virtual Student Federal Service Program is best summed up in an advertisement posted by the federal government. It states: “1: State & other U.S. agencies post unclassified projects that might leverage talent. 2: U.S. college, masters, Ph.D. & post-doc students apply to three projects. 3: … and that’s it! Selected interns work virtually for agencies Sept-May.” To apply, interns (which must be U.S. citizens) simply go through the U.S. federal jobs platform USAJOBS, and, after creating an account, submit a “resume, transcript & short responses” (“How It Works”). To make things even easier, the Career Center has already released an article on how to create a USAJOBS account—just click this link. Here, It is worth noting that federal agencies other than the Department of State participate in the program, however, it seems that the Department of State is particularly active in the program.

If the Virtual Student Federal Service Internship has piqued your interest, you might be wondering what the experience is actually like. In general, interns work between September and May for roughly 10 hours a week. Furthermore, interns can work anywhere in the world. The internship is not paid, however, many interns receive credit for their work—something which feels particularly likely at Lawrence. It is difficult to discuss specifics, as the program is based around a nearly unending array of projects posted by the State Department; however, at the moment of writing, one project is already posted to the website which would see students work as research assistants on the Afghanistan Lessons Learned Project to examine “the goals, policies, strategies, and programs implemented” during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan (Virtual Student Federal Service). Given that the application deadline for this coming year is in July, more programs are likely to be posted shortly. If you determine that the Virtual Student Federal Service Internship is right for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with our government advisor, Ty Collins, for help with the application process here.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

“How It Works.” U.S. Department of State, https://careers.state.gov/interns-fellows/virtual-student-federal-service/how-it-works/. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Virtual Student Federal Service. https://vsfs.state.gov/projects. Accessed 3 May 2022.