Image Credits: Courtesy of Amelila Irvine
How She Got That Internship is a series that highlights conservative women’s internships in various organizations and positions to inspire the next generation of conservative women to lead. Did you, or a young woman that you know, have an internship experience you want to share with our readers? Submit it in this form and we will contact you if we think it would be a great fit for the series.
Summer is perhaps the best time for young leaders to invest in themselves by gaining valuable work experience, namely through internships. As summer comes to a close and fall looms ahead, FFL is sitting down with a number interns to reflect on this year’s highlights and encourage more young leaders to apply for next year’s internships.
Amelia Irvine is a contributor for Young Voices and studies government and economics at Georgetown University. Her writing has appeared in The Federalist, USA Today, and National Review, among others. She’s the president of Love Saxa, the co-president of Georgetown’s Network of Enlightened Women, and the chair of Georgetown’s AEI Executive Council.
How did you find out about the position, and why did you decide to apply?
Though I’m interning at USA Today, I didn’t apply directly to the organization. One of my classmates at Georgetown had completed an internship with The College Fix, and I ended up applying on a whim a couple hours before the deadline. The College Fix basically vets candidates and recommends them for placement at various news outlets where they have a connection with an editor. Because I’m interested primarily in commentary, rather than straight news reporting, The College Fix reached out to USA Today’s opinion page.
What was the driving force behind choosing to work at as a USA Today intern?
My interests have really hopped around during my college years, but I wanted to explore opinion journalism more. Though I have been writing opinion pieces for about a year, I hadn’t experienced the other side — the editors who sift through submissions and decide what to publish. I knew I could learn valuable lessons, and have the opportunity to get published at a big-name publication like USA Today.
Have you interned before? If so, where?
I’ve interned with Representative David Schweikert, Jamestown Associates, and The Foundation for Government Accountability. Before college, I interned for Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers, a candidate for congress in my home state of Arizona, and returned to direct her campaign two summers ago.
Describe a typical day at your internship.
I arrive at the office each morning at 9am, assuming that the D.C. metro is running on time. The bulk of my time is spent fact-checking columns from our regular columnists and other contributors. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. After fact-checking a piece, I write SEO-friendly headlines and choose a photo that connects to the main ideas of the piece. When I’m not fact-checking, I assist one of the editors with a weekly newsletter about the latest news in policing and create social media content to pair with our late night comedy round-up. I spend time reading news and opinion pieces, and have had the chance this summer to write some of my own work as well.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for USA Today?
I’ve been able to get to know the publication process so much better, which is really something that should be experienced first-hand. That’s helped me to understand what editors look for in a piece. Now, I know this will help me in any future jobs or internships.
What was the biggest WOW moment of your internship?
I was able to get two columns of my own published on the USA Today website. USA Today has an extremely strong circulation, so it was exciting to have my work there.
Looking back over your time in the internship, what’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a result of your time working for USA Today?
One thing I’ve learned during my experience is not to compare myself to others. Every intern wants to get something different out of an internship. It doesn’t make sense to try to imitate what other people are doing. Focus on how you can add value in your role and accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself during your internship.