The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Success on The Hill

Photo by Courtesy of Colleen Goggin

International studies and political science junior Colleen Goggin interned in Washington during the spring 2022 semester through The Fund of American Studies program. 

Living minutes away from Capitol Hill was one of the many tremendous encounters Aggie Colleen Goggin got to witness during her time in Washington.
The Fund of American Studies, or TFAS, is a program that offers students internships in Washington, allowing them to gain a plethora of different skills. The students are also given access to many different opportunities, such as taking courses at George Mason University, participating in professional development seminars, attending exclusive briefings at Capitol Hill and hearing debates with guest speakers. International studies and political science junior Colleen Goggin was among the 300 selected to spend the entire spring 2022 semester with such an experience. 

Senior director at TFAS Joseph Starrs said the program has been around for 55 years and provides students the opportunity to gain work experience and network.

“Students who do our program really get an immersive experience in terms of what it’s like to live and work in Washington, D.C., and hopefully learn a little bit more about themselves and their leadership potential,” Starrs said.

Goggin said that one of the main reasons she decided to attend the internship program is because she had always seen her future in Washington.

“I decided to become part of TFAS because they’re a great stepping stone to breaking into that network that D.C. is, just because it’s so different than a lot of other career fields,” Goggin said. “If you want to get into politics or something with the government, especially if you want to work in D.C., they provide a great opportunity with having a really big alumni network.”

To her surprise, Goggin said the enrollment process was similar to a college application. 

“We had to do essays, we got letters of rec[ommendation] and we filled out lots of application questions with them trying to gauge [where we’d be interested in interning], why we should be able to come to D.C. and how we’re going to make a great impact on the future of the government,” Goggin said.

Goggin said she likes how TFAS emphasizes alumni opportunities and mentee-mentor program.

“They try to match the mentors that are also TFAS alumni themselves to people who have similar career interests, and throughout the whole semester they encourage you to meet with them and they answer any kind of question that you have,” Goggin said.

Her most memorable experience, Goggin said, is the variety of guest speakers that come and answer questions. 

“They like bringing in people from [different] backgrounds,” Goggin said. “We listened to a person who works for the Federal Reserve, and then we had an economist come and talk to us about different situations.”

Overall, Goggin said her experience was phenomenal, and it has really won a place in her heart.

“It’s been a crazy semester, and it’s something I’m never going to forget,” Goggin said. “It’s really solidified that I do want to eventually come back to D.C. for a future career.”

While in Washington, Goggin said she faced a lot of problems with being in a new area and time management. 

“A big challenge is the culture of D.C. coming from Texas; it’s a different kind of culture here,” Goggin said. “We go to the internships every day, so coming straight from work to go to classes and then [having] program events all throughout the week and sometimes on the weekends. It would get overwhelming at times.”

Surprisingly, Goggin said her greatest challenge ended up being an important skill in overcoming the problems she faced. 

“So a big challenge is time management in a way, but [it] also ended up helping me because it also furthered my process [on] how to use my time,” Goggin said. “At first [it] was hard, but now looking back it’s a really good aspect.”

The biggest advice Goggin said she had for individuals interested in TFAS is to come with a strong work ethic and an open mind.

“Everybody comes from different backgrounds [and] different ideologies, especially here in D.C.,” Goggin said. “It can be hard sometimes when speakers come and you don’t always agree with them or you might have skirmishes among other students, so I think coming into that knowing that [is] a great asset to have because it can also teach you a lot.”
Goggin said she hopes her experience inspires other Aggies to take on Washington. 

“I just want to try to encourage more Aggies to keep coming to D.C. because they also make it such a friendly place and they have a whole Aggie community here. That’s a lot of fun, to go and talk with the Aggies that move up here,” Goggin said. 
Goggin said she also encourages individuals that are thinking about interning to go for it.

“It was hard giving up a semester at College Station; I was definitely homesick at times, but looking back, it’s something that definitely changed my life and taught me way more than I even considered,” Goggin said. “I think it would benefit a lot of people to just spend a semester, or even a summer up here in D.C. with TFAS because you will definitely learn a lot and you’ll make a lot of lifetime friends.”

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