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Academic Enrichment

The University of Montana

Adam Woods' Internship Experience


Adam Woods Internship

"Don’t just be an intern or a college student. Get involved in the community and meet as many people as you can."



Your Name: Adam Woods

Your Major (s): Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management with an emphasis on Recreation Resource Management

Briefly Describe your Academic Enrichment Experience.
During the Spring 2012 semester I enrolled in The Washington Center (TWC) for Academic Internships and Seminars program. I earned 6 credits by interning for 35 hours per week at Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region. I earned 3 more credits by completing an evening course through TWC on the federal budget. Finally, I earned 3 credits by completing weekly personal development assignments and attending lectures and site visits.

How did you get connected with this academic enrichment opportunity and was there someone who helped you get involved with this opportunity?
I heard about TWC and the opportunities it offers through announcements by the Davidson Honors College (DHC). I talked with Dean McKusick of the DHC to learn more about the program and how to take advantage of it.

What was the most rewarding part of this experience?
We had to complete a portfolio that included our evening class work, weekly assignments, and work samples from our internship. Looking through the portfolio after I completed it showed me just how much work I had done and how many great opportunities I had during my time in Washington. I still have a copy of my portfolio that I can look back at and remember. 

What surprised you during this experience? 
I was most surprised by how much I enjoyed Washington, DC. The city actually felt somewhat close-knit and it was so easy to get around that it felt a lot smaller than it actually is. I was also surprised how easy it was to get involved in the federal government. I had no trouble getting a reader card for the Library of Congress, I attended several congressional sub-committee hearings, and I had personal interviews with the Forest Service Chief, National Park Service Director, and Chaplain of the House of Representatives. 

What doors did participation in this experience open for you?
First it provided me with a foot in the door to get back to Washington, DC to work after I graduate—especially at my internship site. It also provided me with a much deeper interest in federal politics. And I have built up my network to include other college students from all over the US and residents and professionals in DC. 

How has participating in this academic enrichment experience affected you as a person and as a student?
My internship gave me a much better idea of what life after college will look like. It also showed me that I would function alright in an office setting and as a professional in general. I made some great personal friends that provided me with new insights into everything from American culture, to my Christian faith, to partisan politics, to how to live on my own.

Do you have a one-sentence expression or description of what participating in this experience means to you?
My time in DC allowed me to learn how to be a professional and an “adult” by being a professional and an adult.

What advice would you give incoming students about getting involved in something similar?
Do an internship in Washington, DC. It doesn’t matter where you intern just as long as you live in the city and go see the political process in action. There is no place like Washington. It is not like other big cities and it is certainly not like anywhere in Montana. You have to go there to understand how Washington really works.

Intern at a place that interests you. It doesn’t have to be your dream job, but at least a place where you wouldn’t be opposed to working. The outcome will either be that you find out you definitely don’t want to work a job like that, or you will probably change your dream workplace to match your internship experience.

Finally, don’t just be an intern or a college student. Get involved in the community and meet as many people as you can. Get involved in a local church. Engage in community service. Go to places and events you have never been to before. As an intern through TWC you are not there just to be free labor for your supervisor. Rather, you are there to provide high quality work but also to learn about yourself and the city.  

Academic Enrichment

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Missoula, MT 59812

406-243-2569

AcademicEnrichment@umontana.edu