Honors Students Selected for Public Policy Internship Program

The Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) provides students with real-world experience and hands-on learning through policy-related internships in Washington, D.C.; Austin, TX; and various European locations.  PPIP internships complement and reinforce students’ coursework, give students inside knowledge about their professional future, and provide hosting organizations with additional support.

The Texas A&M University Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) was established in 1999 by Dr. Ray Bowen, then President of Texas A&M University, to respond to society’s increasing interest and participation in public policy issues and programs. Since then approximately 700 Aggies have interned in Washington, D.C.; Austin, TX and abroad.  PPIP is coordinated from the office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies.  This allows the program to be coordinated centrally through the colleges to provide an integrated academic and policy-related internship program for the campus and community. (From http://ppip.tamu.edu/about).

We are excited to announce that ten* students in the University Honors Program are among the 30 selected for PPIP internships in Washington, D.C. for Spring 2015 and Fall 2015:

David Cohen ’16 – International Studies & Economics

Julianna Ewell ’15 -Accounting

Elizabeth Freeman ‘17 – International Studies & Spanish

Jacob Arnett ‘17 – Economics & Philosophy

Andrew Baxter ’16 – Physics & Mathematics

Amanda Dick ’17 – Psychology

Alyson Miranda ‘17 – Bioenvironmental Sciences

Bridget O’Connell ’16 – History

Emily Parrish  ‘16– Economics

Kathryn Williams ‘16 – Economics & M.A. International Affairs


Emily Parrish '16
Emily Parrish ’16

Emily Parrish (EP), a junior economics major, and Andy Baxter (AB), a junior physics and mathematics double-degree student, took the time to share some insights about the PPIP program with us:

Where will you be interning?

EP: I am not placed in an internship yet but will be applying to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank on Capitol Hill, as well as to the Department of Commerce.

AB: This summer I will be working for the Information Technology Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS) which is a division of the Information Technology Industry (ITI) Council in Washington D.C. As a part of this program I will be attending meetings with member companies as well as meetings on Capitol Hill.

What was the application and interview process like for PPIP?

EP: The application definitely took a good bit of time. It included finding recommendation letters as well as writing an essay concerning a specific policy interest. For those who are interested in policy, as I am, writing this essay is actually enjoyable. After the written application, I interviewed with a panel and then heard back about a week later.

Andy Baxter '16
Andy Baxter ’16

AB: The application process for PPIP was relatively simple. I filled out an application, wrote an essay on the importance of intelligence throughout the history of the United States, submitted a transcript, resume, and cover letter, and had three letters of recommendation sent to the office. My interview was essentially a normal interview. I was asked about my research and role as director of Freshmen Leaders in Christ (FLiC). Since my faith is the first priority of my life, I was asked why I did not preference Christian organizations as my first priority. I explained how Paul worked as a tentmaker while on mission so that he did not have to be a financial burden on the church. In the same way, I am seeking a secular career so that I can build up the financial stability to someday enter into full time ministry without having to be a financial burden on the church. The only unusual part of the interview was when the director or the program tried to grill me. She intentionally asked questions about my political views in order to challenge me. In particular, the series of questions led to my opinions on the Guantanamo Bay shutdown. To me, I found this part of the interview to be somewhat fun because I enjoyed the challenge and because I knew that the intention of the questions was to rattle me. Overall, the application process to PPIP was very simple.

After being accepted to PPIP, I met with the director of the program and determined a list of offices to apply for. I then proceeded to adapt my PPIP application materials to these offices and give them to PPIP. The director actually traveled to D.C. to meet with the employers, and within the next week I had three phone interviews. I was given offers at the end of the phone calls with BAE Systems and ITAPS. After a week of prayer and research, I decided to accept the offer with ITAPS. (I also applied to the CIA in the fall and received an offer as well. I went through this application process independently due to the early deadline although I could still apply this internship to PPIP.)

How will your internship fit into your long-term goals?

EP: I am a junior Economics major and have dabbled in business, international studies, and language courses during my time at Texas A&M.  In the future, I hope to have some part in policy-making for our country. I do not yet know what type of policy I would like to influence or how I want to go about this, but I am confident that the PPIP internship will give me valuable exposure to the opportunities that are available and best-suited to my interests.

AB: After graduation, my hope is to attend graduate school in the UK or Ireland on a national fellowship to study business and engineering while doing ministry on the side. After completion of my graduate degrees, I hope to work up to management level for developing technologies. Many of the companies that I will be interested in working for are member companies of ITAPS, so this experience will provide me with the ability to network with potential future employers.

For more information about the Public Policy Internship Program, visit http://ppip.tamu.edu.

To discover other enriching experiences available to undergraduates at Texas A&M, visit Undergraduate Studies at http://us.tamu.edu.

*Corrected: The previous version of this post incorrectly listed nine students, omitting Julianna Ewell.


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