David Samberg joined the Office of Public Affairs this summer as an intern. In this Q&A, David shares why he joined our team, what he's been working on, and what he'll take away from his time with us.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and why you chose the U.S. Department of Commerce for your internship?
In May, I graduated (virtually!) from Davidson College in North Carolina with a degree in Political Science. While in college, I also spent a year at the London School of Economics, where I focused on European governance, English law, and international trade policy. In just a few weeks, I will matriculate at the University of Wisconsin Law School. I am excited to explore constitutional law, and I hope to become an effective advocate both in and out of court.
Even though my main passion is our legal system, I have always been interested in economics and business. One of the greatest American presidents, Calvin Coolidge, once said that “the chief business of the American people is business.” I agree wholeheartedly, and so I was excited to have the opportunity to play a small role in promoting American economic growth at the Department of Commerce.
Why did you choose to study political science?
I never had much of an interest in political science, or even politics, until I was in high school. The more I learned about the Constitution and its history, and the American legal system itself, the more excited I became. By the time I got to college, pursuing it further seemed like a no-brainer. More than anything, I appreciated being able to take classes at Davidson on international and comparative topics, putting our singular political system and its issues into perspective.
What did you expect to work on during this internship before it started?
I had no idea what to expect. Settling in on the first day of a new position is always tough – and having to do it remotely seemed even more difficult. But the entire office was nothing but helpful and welcoming, and I was quickly able to get used to my new responsibilities.
What have you been working on during your internship?
In the Office of Public Affairs, I help make sure that we follow up with media inquiries, keep track of ongoing stories, and produce research and other reports for the Director of Public Affairs and the Secretary’s office. I’ve also been a bit of a utility player within the office. Among other things, I’ve been lucky enough to assist with research for speechwriting and see that iterative process play out.
How do you think you’ve helped our team with its work?
Ensuring that the entire Department is effective in its messaging seems like a herculean task, but everyone in the office does a great job. What I do is buttress that effort – through research projects, press outreach, or by helping private citizens get in touch with the right people at Commerce.
Is there anything you wished you could have worked on or learned about, but didn’t get a chance to?
I admit I had hoped to be working in D.C. this summer. But, considering the circumstances, I’m happy to have the opportunity to help in any way that I can.
What have you learned during this internship that you can apply in the future?
I’m glad that I have been able to develop a more complete understanding of the role of the Department of Commerce, as well as the individual responsibilities and goals of its constituent bureaus. My time in the office has helped me improve my research, writing, and organizational skills, and has given me valuable insight into the deliberative processes behind one of the most important cabinet departments.