Understanding the Practical Side of Public Affairs

Filed in Education, Jobs, Workforce Investment by on August 10, 2011 1 Comment

“Hi, my name is Yiye Wu. I’m the summer intern with Office of Public Affairs.”

“Hi, welcome on board! Yi, is it?”

“Very close! It’s Yee-Yeh.” I said, smiling and excited on my first day as a DOL intern.

Since coming to the United States last August, I have already gotten use to people saying my name correctly after several tries and appreciate those who make the efforts to do so.

Yes, so here I am, Yiye Wu. Born and raised in a small city called Nanchang in China, I spent four years in Beijing Foreign Studies University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Journalism and Communication, double-majored in English. After graduating from college, I went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication at Villanova University on a full scholarship.

One year into my Master’s program, I decided that an internship pertaining to Public Relations would do me good in gaining some practical insights in addition to the theoretical perspectives that I’ve garnered in class. By chance, the Public Affairs assistant internship opportunity with the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) in Philadelphia was passed on to me from my advisor in late April. I applied, interviewed and finally got an offer in early May.

The internship started from a series of informational interviews with heads of other agencies: Wage and Hour Division, Office of the Solicitor, Job Corps, and the Women’s Bureau, just to name a few. These interviews proved to be paramount in carrying out my intern duties because OPA is involved in a diverse range of programs with different agencies – bridging agencies and their potential publics, obtaining media coverage and publicity of events, issuing press release before or after events, and so on. Given all agencies in DOL deal with labor-related issues, they differ greatly from each other in terms of core responsibilities and programs. Therefore, it’s a rewarding experience to be able to talk in-person with directors to fully digest each agency’s obligations.

The most amazing experience with this internship is the opportunity to be assigned projects that specifically cater to my interests and background. Apart from working with enthusiasm towards projects such as the Heat Campaign and Job Corp’s Culinary Expo, I was set-up to work on an article about the Women’s Bureau’s partnership with a local non-profits organization – Asian American Women’s Coalition (AAWC), since my supervisors are aware of my background as an international student in China. Having attended AAWC’s event and interviewed high-profile Asian American professions, this assignment turned out to be a fantastic networking opportunity for me. Besides, I was delighted to utilize my language skills to translate the news article from Chinese newspapers covering OSHA’s Asian American/Pacific Islander Worker Protection Summit in Flushing.

Now that I’ve finished my two-month internship with OPA, my take-away not only includes a set of published articles to build up my portfolio, and an expanded professional network, but also a deeper understanding and hands-on experience in public relations.

Editor’s Note: The author, Yiye Wu is an intern in the Philadelphia Office of Public Affairs.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Frank Rustin says:

    Yiye, did you find it easier to build your portfolio because of your classes in college? Which classes helped you the most to become successful in your field of work? Which styles of writing do you enjoy the most? Keep up with your hard work to reach your goals!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *