Brendan Klein

Major: Political Science & Economics

Title/Place of Internship: Policy Intern with Growth & Justice

How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?

I discovered Growth & Justice, a public policy nonprofit in St. Paul, through the Jackson Fellowship offered at CSB/SJU. I worked with the XPD office and with my political science advisor to find a site that fit my interests and skills. I also had some assistance from a Johnnie alum who worked for Growth & Justice.

What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?

At my internship I held a multitude of tasks. I helped review social media and public content that was going to be dispersed to donors and the public. I helped write and research two different blogs for my organization, with both ultimately being published in the St. Cloud Times. I would assist in updating the organization database for mailings and electronic updates. An additional, yet more infrequent task was to accompany staff members to policy conferences and tours.

What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?

The most beneficial aspect of my experience was the access I had to senior leaders in the organization and other policy leaders throughout the state of Minnesota. They were very gracious with their time and assisted me in my development as a policy analyst. Since I worked in a smaller office I was essential to their daily operations and as a result worked more closely with senior staff.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.?

One the most important takeaways I had from my internship is that connections matter. Public policy and other white collar-type work utilizes networking and partnerships to a greater extent than I imagined. I realized how important these internships are, especially when you are in college, since the connections you make will facilitate your pursuit of a job after graduation.

How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?

I was able to apply my experiences I had and the skills I acquired through a subsequent internship the next summer in Washington, DC. I was able to use the public policy skills I received from Growth & Justice to work on education policy at a national level. My previous experience stood out to my employer and put me on the short-list over other candidates, helping me gain even more policy experience, this time in Washington, DC.

What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?

It is never to early to start gaining valuable experience. I would also recommend getting involved early and often in school since your extracurricular activities and class rigor will stand out to potential employers. It is a competitive world for the coveted jobs, so make sure you are putting your best self out there for employers to see.

(October 2018)