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Intern Spotlight Series: Gianna Juarez

Gianna Juarez is an intern in the Office of the White House Liaison. In this Q&A, she writes about her experience as a summer intern working for the Department of Commerce. This is the third installment of a seven-part series.

Can you share a little bit about yourself and why you chose the U.S. Department of Commerce for your internship?

My family came to the United States from Peru (mother) and Guatemala (father), in the early 1980s, seeking asylum from poverty and a better life under the "American Dream." It is because of their struggle, sacrifice, and commitment to this country that I grew passionate about public service. As a first-generation college student, I took it upon myself to start my higher education journey in the community college setting at Northern Virginia Community College, then eventually transferred, and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Psychology in May. I became particularly interested in interning at the Department of Commerce due to the American economy being the backbone of all domestic efforts, including immigration and equality for all communities. Moreover, I hoped to gain deeper insight as to how the Federal Government establishes goals for the good of all, as well as what that implementation process looks like as a bureaucracy.

What have you been working on during your internship?

As the intern to the Office of the White House Liaison, I’ve been heading the OWHL Internship Program for the Fall 2022 cohort! This consists of researching universities all over the United States with DC Semester Programs, screening applications, and scheduling over 100 interviews in the span of 4 weeks! The biggest highlight for me has been conducting a handful of these interviews myself, and speaking to such passionate individuals, hoping to bring their public service skills to Commerce. Additionally, I’ve been helping OWHL with Political Appointee onboarding through the creation of certificates, data tracking, and the magnificent photo wall in our office! Lastly, constructing memos for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary’s meetings with new Commerce team members has been a tremendous learning experience for me, enhancing my writing abilities.

What have you learned during this internship that you can apply in the future?

Being able to see first-hand what the Commerce Department is doing to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of Building Back Better through the implementation of diversity and inclusion has been a learning experience that I will take with me through all my future public service endeavors. More specifically, witnessing the CHIPS Act passage by Congress in the Secretary’s Conference Room will forever be a motivation to seek out and follow through with big projects that better the lives of all people in the United States. I’m happy to say that I am leaving this internship with career trajectories, drive, and passion for public service in the field of governmental affairs!