Summer of Service: Eric Jjemba '21

Summer of Service: Eric Jjemba '21
Summer of Service: Eric Jjemba '21

For more than 40 years, the Institute of Politics has provided support for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors to pursue a summer internship in public service.  The signature offerings of the IOP’s Summer of Service program engages more than 150 students with meaningful experiences in politics and public service.  From working for elected officials to non-profits, federal, state and local governments, activist groups and think tanks – IOP Summer of Service students immerse themselves in issues and policies for eight weeks as they explore opportunities and careers with public purpose.

Follow along on our social channels with #MyIOPSummer as we share some of the internship experiences in this cohort of students.

Eric Jjemba '21 reflects on his summer working with Environmental Defense Fund.

What have you learned about yourself by working in a virtual environment?

Working virtually at EDF has shown me that it is still possible to connect and grow with your colleagues, even if you're not located in the same place. While nothing can make up for the valuable, serendipitous office interactions that we've lost for the time being, openness between me, my supervisor, and our entire team about preferred styles of communication has made it incredibly easy to still feel as immersed in EDF as I could've hoped.

How has this internship experience shaped how you’re thinking about your future/career?

This internship as a Legislative Intern for EDF Health has made visible for me what it looks like to work through Capitol Hill to create the change that you'd like to see in the world. Yes - Washington DC politics can be slow, grueling, and often disappointing. But even in my short time at EDF, I've seen how small victories can stack up to larger ones that impact real people's lives for the better. And as a result, it has made the idea of continuing to work on policy at the federal level more attractive to me.