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Alumni Profile: Kevin Fritze '07
Department of the Interior Internship
My time at the Department of the Interior (DOI) in Washington D.C. this summer was truly invaluable. The experiences I had and the people I met and worked with have changed my outlook on many things, especially my own future. What I found particularly valuable was the opportunity to get involved in the actual process of policy making. The office I interned with is in charge of coordinating the environmental policies of all the offices within DOI, so I was immersed in the processes that crafted the policies that I have studied so much in my classes at Colby. I participated in meetings on a wide variety of topics, ranging from discussions on federal actions regarding “Mine Scarred Lands” to meetings of the National Response Team. Either way, each meeting represented an opportunity to get first-hand experience in policy making at the headquarters level in Washington D.C., the highest level of government policy making.
What made my involvement in the meetings great was that I was not simply an observer. At most I had some responsibility, from simply taking notes for future reference and use in later discussions, to actually working on parts of projects that came out of those meetings. I helped draft portions of an inter-agency document pertaining to “All Appropriate Inquiry” regarding the acquisition of lands by federal agencies, which was being drafted in response to a new rule implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At one point I even represented DOI at a committee meeting of the National Response Team, and was acknowledged at the full team meeting for my participation and assistance in making the meeting productive by answering questions on DOI’s position and other committee’s work on various topics to the best of my ability. The confidence that I gained from those and other experiences, as well as the experience of living on my own and working in Washington, has truly helped me grow and greatly broadened my horizons.