Tell us about yourself.
I am a local who grew up in Tulsa very near TU. I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. I went to Memorial High School then attended undergrad at Virginia Commonwealth University. I worked as a paralegal for three years, half in Atlanta and half in Tulsa. I am happily married with a baby on the way and I am on schedule to graduate on time this upcoming May 2013. I have been focusing my studies while at TU on Native American Law and Natural Resource and Energy Law. I am on track to get certificates in both disciplines. After graduation I hope to find a job for an Oklahoma Tribe or a government position furthering tribal interests.
Where were you this summer and what did you do there? What were your tasks and activities?
This summer I spent 10 weeks working at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington DC. I was a legal intern in the Office of Enforcement in the Division of Investigations and my efforts were focused on electric reliability matters. It is a mouthful but it was a very rewarding experience.
I was responsible for lots of legal research as well as developing legal strategies to use in confidential non-public investigations. Additionally, I researched what legal authorities could be used to support new reliability standards. I also reviewed filings that were made to FERC regarding electric reliability from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.
While I was in Washington DC I was also able to attend Commission meetings, interviews and various meetings with Independent System Operators.
Why did you decide to do this internship?
I took this position after much discussion with my husband. It was a big commitment to be gone for the majority of the summer and it is a large financial commitment to reside in DC for the summer. There was a lot to consider but ultimately even with these considerations it was still a worthwhile opportunity. There was a lot of networking opportunities and working in DC is a great resume booster. Since it was a paid position with the federal government it also allowed me to get into their hiring system which could substantially improve my chances of obtaining employment from them later in my career. Also a lesser consideration was the city itself and the chance to live in Virginia again with my college roommate. The entire experience brought back a lot of memories from my time in Richmond, VA. I was able to visit places in VA, NC, MD and DE this summer. Also my parents, my brother and my husband all came to visit me this summer at different times.
How did you get this internship?
I received an email about this opportunity from Dean Cordell and another email from the editor of ELJ. I applied by email and about a month later received a phone call from the intern coordinator. I had a preliminary interview that day and afterward was scheduled for another interview with three others for later that week. Initially I was not offered a position because they were only looking for five candidates. However a month after my first round of interviews I was called back for another interview. It was for a new position that had just been created in electric reliability. Later I was told that I was selected for this second position because I had been persistent, kind and considerate in my initial interviews and I had followed up with thank you notes after my initial rejection. I was ultimately selected to be one of six interns out of a field of hundreds of applicants nationwide. My colleagues this summer hailed from George Mason University, University of Vermont, Harvard, Georgetown and Mc George School of Law.
What was the best part of your internship and living in DC?
The best thing about working in DC was my colleagues at FERC. There was economists, engineers, accountants and attorneys who were all very talented and intelligent. I was able to make some great connections that I hope to maintain.
The best part of living in DC for me was getting to experience the city all over again and living with my college roommate. Plus having so many visitors this summer to show around made me really feel connected to the city.
What has been the most difficult?
The most difficult part for me this summer was being so far away from my husband since we are pregnant with our first baby. It was an exciting time in life and living in DC really made my time pass fast which is kind of disappointing. My courses at TU and my research experience from Moot Court really prepared me for the work that I was doing at FERC so that was never too difficult but it was challenging.
What have you learned from your stay and your internship?
If you are going to spend a summer in DC be sure to network. I went to brown bag lunches with the Native American Bar Association and the Energy Bar Association. I attended happy hours with my co-workers and baseball games. While your work will leave an impression so will your attitude and your eagerness to get to know your supervisors and colleagues.
Also I lived in Fairfax, VA while I was in DC this summer and at first I thought it would be very difficult to get back and forth because it was an hour train ride each way. But I came to enjoy this time and used it for research and reading. So if you are looking for a place to live for the summer it is very feasible to live in the suburbs. Also living in VA allowed me to have my car which made traveling easier. It is amazing the amount of stuff you might need in a three month period. Also I was able to travel because I had my car so I took day trips to areas around DC. I also spent a weekend in NC and in DE.
Talk about one thing that has stuck with you during your internship.
This was my first experience working with the federal government and I got to see first hand exactly how important Federal Admin Law. Also I was surprised at how much statutory construction came up and so I am glad I had experience in that as well.
What did you do for fun?
I went out of town almost every weekend that I was in DC and on the weekends that I was in town I had visitors. I went to multiple Nationals Baseball games and went to the Smithsonian Museums. Some of the best tourist spots I went to this summer require advanced notice: send an email to your senator or congressman for a private tour of the capital and it was well worth the “donation” to get a reserved time to see the National Archives. My husband and I went on July 3rd and viewed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Would you go back? Recommend it to others?
I would highly recommend taking an opportunity in DC if it comes your way. I do not think that DC is a place I could live for a long period of time but that is a personal choice. I would do my internship all over again if I was given the chance. I also highly recommend going to DC if it is a place where you are considering applying after law school. It is very different that any other big city I have spent time in and you want to experience the city before deciding if it is a place where you want to spend your life.
Additional commentary you’d like to make about your internship.
Go to the Beach!!