Confessions of a Summer Intern: Meet Sarah Suter

Sarah Suter

Sarah Suter will graduate from UW-Whitewater in August 2011 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She starts graduate school at UW-W in the fall, working towards a master’s degree in Professional Development with an emphasis in Educational Leadership. Sarah is interning with the US Department of Education in the Office of the Secretary. Her main internship advisor is Jo Anderson, Senior Advisor to the US Secretary of Education.

I have been a strong advocate for and minor leader in education since at least high school. My dream and goal for the past two years was to be an intern for the US Department of Education. I didn’t care in what office or what specific projects I’d be working on, just the initial experience would be enough.

Through conferences attended and conversations had, putting my passion for this internship out there for leaders in education to know about, I was able to get connected with my current supervisor at the Department of Education, Jo Anderson. I had no idea when I emailed him for the first time how big of a deal he was. After many email correspondences, a couple of conference calls, and a breakfast in Milwaukee, here I am today in Washington, DC! The vital part of getting the internship that you really want is to make the necessary connections and do what it takes. Don’t settle for less if you’re truly keen on attaining it.

My experience has been more that amazing thus far. My first week was a little hectic in the office with the Department of Education having more interns this summer than ever before along with many big meetings and projects going on. Staff was, however, extremely welcoming and enthusiastic for us to begin. Like any other intern, I was extremely anxious, but SO excited to begin my work.

I am three weeks in and have about five co-supervisors in addition to my main supervisor. I am a part of many different teams within the department, such as Early Learning, Labor Management Collaboration, Investing in Innovation, State News, and more. Much of the work I do is confidential since it is yet to be publicized information. It’s a great feeling when you are a part of these teams and all members treat you as a key component of these teams as well. You are adding very important information to the meetings and the teams work to help move the project/initiation, and essentially the department, forward. After sometimes long days, it’s always rewarding to know that I’m doing my part and giving input to help better the education system for America’s youth.

The Lyndon B. Johnson US Department of Education Building
LBJ US Dept of Education Building

At work!
Sarah at Work

Outside of the working hours, which are generally Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, I have been keeping very busy! Washington, DC is such a beautiful and energetic city with a wide range of things to do and see.

Sarah with Washington Monument

Sarah Site Seeing

Aside from the hours of site seeing and museum touring, interns in the Office of the Secretary like to get together after work on Thursday evenings for “Intern Bonding.” We pick a different “neighborhood” within DC and go to a random restaurant and relax from the workplace. I have also met many friends at the upperclassman dorm I am living in for summer, George Washington University’s City Hall.

Taking the metro everywhere has been an interesting experience, but I finally have it down! You can get near pretty much anywhere you need to get in DC, and the price isn’t too bad either.

The Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro that I take to work each morning.
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro

Technology has played a huge factor in keeping in touch back home. Thanks to Skype for being able to talk to over 20 family members one night while they were all at my grandpa’s 77th birthday party!


Sarah proves that you can “stay close” – through technology, but still go far!