My Internship with FIU Federal Relations in Washington, D.C.


Name: Juan Salgado

Major: Senior majoring in Advertising and minoring in Marketing

Where did you intern? Washington, D.C. with FIU Federal Relations. This internship is offered on a limited-basis and highly coveted by students.

What did you do there? As a Communications Intern in D.C., I am responsible for social media management, graphic design, strategy, photography, creative direction, and marketing. In the two months since starting the internship, I am impressed with the speed at which communications travel, especially in D.C. – where a lot of decisions are made that impact the world.

How did you get your internship?
I was motivated to apply for this opportunity after taking a D.C. trip with BOLD in spring 2018. During the trip, I noticed that the city had a vast industry and professional setting that left me wanting to learn more. I was drawn to the work ethic and dynamic environment of D.C. and felt it could propel my career.

What was the coolest thing that happened during your internship?
In addition to his internship, I had the opportunity to network in our nation’s capital. Aside from visiting Capitol Hill multiple times, I met with 4 Chiefs of Staff and held a one-on-one sit-down with Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.

What did you like most about your experiece?
I am excited for the future. As far as my experience, it’s not easy and that is what drives me. Simple is boring.

What did you learn about yourself?
Over the last month and a half, I arrived at Washington, D.C. with a CARTA scholarship to intern at the FIU governmental relations office. Although the transition hasn’t been easy, I’ve learned that I am more capable than what I thought I’d be. By this, I mean that I underestimated myself and at times — before coming — I doubted myself. I’ve learned that with hard work, a laser-focused mindset, and a hustling attitude, anything is possible.

How did you expand your professional network?
Great question. Before arriving in D.C. I made a list of people I knew in the city or common friends that can connect me with other people. Also, I’ve tried to be as active as I can by attending as many networking events as possible. This has led me to connect with people and organizations of my interest. Business cards are a super plus! I printed some before arriving and it has helped me tremendously.

I’ve learned that in order to have a healthy professional network, you must value and cherish people. They are not a disposable link that can connect you to the next job and ‘sayonara’, see you never. They are people that are looking to connect and invest in young potential, and thank God I learned that from a great mentor, Lily Savinon. So far, I have been connecting with 3 high profile e-suite individuals and mentors that are teaching me the ropes and connecting me to their circles.

How did it help you prove yourself in the “real world”?
I’ve been very active in my industry since I was a sophomore in high school, dealing with clients and organizations, as well as starting early in my career working in agencies. Proving yourself shouldn’t be hard if you know what you are doing and carry yourself with professionalism and respect. People up here do not play games and easily detect people who are unauthentic. Fake it ’til you make it doesn’t really work here.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?
My advice would be to hone your craft, skill, and knowledge of the industry you want to be in! Research as much as you can of the company you want to intern or individual you want to work for and give it your ALL! Get up every morning and fuel yourself with purpose by looking for what will make you happy. Think big, and always believe in yourself! You got this.


Written by: Dillon DiBartolomeo

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