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  • Writer's pictureDavid Wolfe Bender

Summer 2021: Looking Back (and Forward)

June 13, 2021: In front of the Government Accountability Office's headquarters on a visit to Washington DC

Today is July 23, 2021. And my internship with the Government Accountability Office ends today.

The opportunity to work in the Office of Public Affairs at the GAO has been a true honour, and I sincerely could not have imagined a better summer internship. Not only was I able to contribute to their work, but I was able to work with an outstanding, committed group of public servants who worked tirelessly to help me learn more about public affairs and media relations in government agencies.

In the past 11 weeks, I have spent each day drafting social media posts, writing and editing blog posts for the GAO's WatchBlog, crafting questions for the GAO's WatchDog Report podcast, and developing long-term social media strategies for the agency. The GAO allows their interns to be on the front lines working with their social media and public affairs efforts, and I am so thankful to the staff in the Office of Public Affairs for providing me this opportunity.

June 13, 2021: A quick selfie from one side of the Government Accountability Office's headquarters

There are a few people I want to thank specifically. Holly Hobbs was the best boss; she trained me quickly and gave me every project, every social media post, and every blog post opportunity she could, and I am very grateful. Additionally, I want to thank McClain Moran, a student at the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) who also interned in the office this summer; she and I would work on a lot of projects together. Not only was she fun to work with, but she made my writing significantly better throughout the duration of the internship, and I am very appreciative of that. And finally, I want to thank Tara Carter, Jacques Arsenault, Sarah Kaczmarek, and Chuck Young for selecting me for this opportunity and helping me develop the skills necessary to do work in the Office of Public Affairs. The GAO's Office of Public Affairs is an incredibly supportive team.

You can learn more about the work I did at the GAO here on my new online portfolio.

My internship has come to an end, which is sad (it's certainly going to be unusual not waking up each day and logging onto the GAO network). Also ending soon will be my sole course for the summer: calculus (I can't say I'm sad about that...because that would be a lie).

Those two things are ending, but the summer is certainly not over yet. Early next week, my family and I will travel to northern Virginia, my forever home. It will be the second time I've been back to the DC/Maryland/Virginia area this summer. Adding to the excitement: it will be the first time I've seen many members of my dad's side of the family since November 2019 (We are pretty sure that's the longest I've ever gone without seeing my grandmother).

On August 1st, I will travel overseas to Israel. Want to see photos while I'm abroad? Follow my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; I'm sure I'll be sharing some photos there. I've wanted to go to Israel for my entire life, and I am so excited to have this opportunity. I want to express special appreciation to the organizers of the trip, both at IU Hillel and at Hillel International for making this trip a reality; I can't wait to meet you all in person.

Sidenote: These trips were only made possible through the hard work of the scientists at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson&Johnson. Without their vaccine, it is likely that none of this travel would be possible. I truly believe we all owe a debt of gratitude to their scientists and to the various officials in the Trump and Biden administrations who took steps to make this vaccine possible (whether that be in the development process or the distribution process). This vaccine is not — and should not be — political. You can get yours here.

And in a last bit of news, I'll be moving into my new apartment in Bloomington the day after I get back from Israel, hopefully with enough time to assemble all of the furniture before the IDS (IU's student newspaper) starts publishing again for the Fall semester. I'll be serving as one of three news editors for the semester, and I'm excited to get started.

My courses for this Fall can be found on the coursework section of my new online portfolio page. This next semester will feature some law classes, and I'm quite excited to get back into the classroom (yes, a real classroom; does anyone remember what that's like?).

I wish you a safe, healthy, and exciting end to your summer. To my friends at IU, I look forward to seeing you again in person for the Fall semester.


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