Mya Juliet Kyaw ’19, an economics major from Myanmar, spent a portion of this past summer at a Washington, D.C., internship she secured through ClarkCONNECT, which brings together students, alumni, faculty, parents, and friends to prepare students for a successful career launch. Here, she recounts her experience working and networking in the city.
Applying to summer internships is stressful, and rejections can pare down one’s self-esteem. ClarkCONNECT removes much of that stress and self-doubt.
I applied for an internship at National Strategies LLC (NSI), a government-consulting firm that assists organizations to generate revenue and growth, solve problems, and create opportunities with state and local governments. I heard back within two days to schedule a phone interview. After accepting an offer a few weeks later, CEO Al Gordon ’81 reached out to welcome me to the firm.
Fellow intern Lauren Holmen ’19 and I supported senior consultants. Our work ranged from finding out political affiliations of local representatives in all 50 states, to studying city budgets, to understanding procurement rules and standards regarding cybersecurity products. An NSI internship is an immersive learning experience for anyone curious about American politics and governance.
The people and the office culture at the firm added to the experience. Our supervisor offered flexibility and opportunities to make the most out of the internship. I had the freedom to attend networking events during weekdays; Lauren got the opportunity to present her findings to a high-level corporate executive. Al Gordon would talk with us for two hours over lunch, and everyone in the office encouraged us to approach them with questions.
Many Clarkies live and work in D.C., which make it a great place for networking. I met alumni at a gathering hosted by ClarkCONNECT and reached out to others for coffee. The shared Clark experience facilitated genuine conversations with alumni, and I did not hesitate to discuss my post-graduation aspirations as well as my fear of the uncertainty ahead. Thoughtful feedback and encouragement was given freely, and I am grateful that we got a chance to build an authentic relationship that allowed me to start building and formalizing my own personal Clark network beyond Worcester.
In high school, I was very much involved with social work and came to Clark with the intention of studying a related field. My first year was spent exploring different academic disciplines like history, international development, geography, and political science. I eventually settled on an economics major and a math minor, but this was only one part of my Clark experience. I learned that I love hiking with the Outing Club, and became a resident adviser for two years. I joined nonprofits that support refugees in Worcester, took on various responsibilities at the Clark Community Thrift Store, and learned about the economics and politics of preserving bee populations with Professor Dana Bauer. Looking back, I see that I am not a one-dimensional person, and I bring this spirit wherever I go.
Outside work hours, I thoroughly explored the city. A few minutes of browsing on platforms like Eventbrite, Goldstar, and Brightest Young Things allowed me to find events in history, art, politics, and professional development. I sat in on a Nobel laureate’s lecture at the Carnegie Institution for Science, attended lunch meetings at nonprofits and think tanks, and got a résumé makeover with a veteran-lawyer-turned-résumé-coach at a meetup for young Asian-American professionals. Research panels, author talks, and three-hour coding boot camps were also checked off from the to-do list.
I encourage my peers to incorporate ClarkCONNECT into their search for opportunities and alumni connections. I am grateful to have met Al Gordon, who added immense value to my Clark education.