Public Service of All Kinds: Beatrice Farb '21

Beatrice Farb
Beatrice Farb

Throughout this summer, we will be spotlighting the summer experiences of our IOP students working in politics and public service through their internships across the country and globe.

The Director’s Internship program has been a signature of the Institute of Politics for nearly 25 years and each summer the IOP works with more than 150 government offices, non-profits, and news organizations to provide internships for students who are looking to pursue careers in politics and public service. The IOP also offers summer stipends for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors accepting non- or low-paying summer internships in local, state, or federal government, public interest groups, non-governmental organizations, political organizations, and political campaigns.

This summer, as in years past, many of those students will be spending their summer working in public service of all kinds  - including non-profits, NGOs, and more.

Beatrice Farb '21 is spending her summer interning at the Peace Corps Office of Strategic Information, Research and Planning in Washington, D.C.

What inspired you to choose this public service internship?

This summer, I am an intern in Washington, D.C. at the Peace Corps Office of Strategic Information, Research and Planning (OSIRP). The Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by President Kennedy as a government agency which sends thousands of Volunteers abroad annually to work on small-scale development projects in parts of the world in need of trained individuals. The communities in which Peace Corps Volunteers carry out their two-year service are typically neglected by other humanitarian organizations. As one of the oldest and most well-established service bodies in the world, the Peace Corps is filled with a wealth of opportunities to learn about the development and practice of altruism in America. In choosing this internship, I was excited by the opportunity to apply my analytical background to such a historic public service agency.

What issue do you hope to focus on in your internship?

Throughout my internship, I have worked on many projects for my office. One project I am working on is to determine thresholds for success for Volunteer projects based on quantitative measures. Some examples of quantitative indicators for projects are: how many farmers demonstrated increased knowledge on sustainable agricultural practices? How many children demonstrated increased English language skills? How many teachers were trained in gender equality in the classroom? Based on targets set for these indicators, we are working to develop metrics to measure project success. Another project I am working on is developing a predictive model to determine the likelihood, based on application materials, that a given Invitee will terminate their service early. 

What are you most excited about working in public service and government?

There are a lot of incredible people working in D.C. who I do not think I would have met without this internship. My background and interests did not seem to align with a position in government, but really this world is for everyone. It is for people who want to make change, to see their values realized, to work for the interests of the country as a whole. Of course, not everyone in D.C. is like this, or has values I agree with, but there are so many people in my agency alone who have done really exciting things in their lives and are continuing to do important work. Almost half of agency staff members are returned Peace Corps Volunteers! It is exciting to become a part of this world.

What are you hoping to learn and to get out of your internship experience this summer?

On the best day of my summer so far, I took a morning off from work, woke up at 5 AM, and headed to the United States Supreme Court. I waited in line for hours until finally we were allowed in, before the building even opened. Some cool things: Elena Kagan grabbed a muffin next to me as I stood in line in the cafeteria. We heard the historic decisions handed down on the gerrymandering and census questions. Ruth Bader Ginsburg turned out to be a very small person, and maybe was dozing off, along with a few other Justices. Opportunities like this visit do not exist everywhere, and being in D.C. doing work at a government agency has allowed me to immerse myself in, and get excited by, the world of government. This summer has broadened the scope of my understanding of how people work to make change, and I hope to take these lessons with me as I transition from college into the world.