Finding a Home at Homeland Security
Hello, my name is Dylan Ashdown and I am currently a Public Affairs intern in the Office of Multimedia, Motion Pictures, and Television, Office of Public Affairs, Department of Homeland Security (DHS). At Seton Hall, I am finishing up two Master’s degrees which will be awarded to me at the end of my internship; one degree will be in Diplomacy and International Relations and the other is in Strategic Communication. This internship has been very beneficial and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested!
I have the “cool” internship. I work directly with the writers and producers of documentaries, television shows, and feature films, along with other “non-news” media stakeholders. Both of my degrees have been of use in this internship. The other day a writer reached out to our office requesting DHS’s help with their show. I ended up spending a few hours researching where I would defect if I was a scientist escaping from an evil government in New York City for a script the writer was working on. This was something that was very relevant to my Diplomacy schooling. In terms of my Strategic Communication classes, I have put together pitch plans for movie producers and interviewed cybersecurity professionals, and technology experts/inventors (all of whom one can find in the Homeland Security).
There is always something exciting happening at DHS. For example, today I attended the daily morning briefing and found out that I was meeting the Secretary of Homeland Security in three hours. Three hour later, I am sitting in a room with 15 other interns getting a briefing directly from the Secretary. This is not your normal internship experience!
Ultimately, the best thing about my internship hasn’t been meeting politically famous people; the best part has been the mentorship that I have received from my supervisor. I never really understood the meaning of a mentor until I started this internship. I asked more questions in my month here at DHS than I ever did in my six years of school and my mentor has gone out of his way to answer all of them. I have learned how to walk, talk, and behave as a public affairs professional in Washington D.C. because of the hours that I have spent with my mentor and because of how much he trusts me to handle projects on my own.
The most rewarding part of my internship is knowing that my work has a direct impact on educating the American people on the work of the Department of Homeland Security. I am very happy that I chose to intern at the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Public Affairs.