Kirandharshini (Kiran) Ganesh, a senior at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), had the experience of a lifetime this past summer as part of a cohort of 26 undergraduates selected this year for the Rutgers Scarlet Service in Washington DC RSS-DC program.
Managed by the Rutgers Office of Federal Relations, the program offers paid internships at government offices and public service-oriented, nonprofit organizations. RSS-DC opens up new possibilities for students to expand their knowledge and skills to be engaged citizens.
RSS-DC is part of the broader Rutgers Scarlet Service Initiative (RSSI) that was launched in 2022 with the goal of providing paid internships at government offices and public service-orientated nonprofit organizations. RSSI included a contingent of 26 students who had the opportunity to live and work in the nation’s capital this summer.
Kiran shares about this enriching student experience with SEBS/NJAES Newsroom.
For what organization did you serve your Rutgers Scarlet Service Internship in DC?
My Rutgers Scarlet Service in D.C. internship took place at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). I was the International Affairs and Science Diplomacy intern for the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy.
What were your responsibilities during the internship?
As the sole intern for the Center for Science Diplomacy, I got to work on an array of tasks. These included conducting research and compiling reports on international relations and science & technology initiatives of potential partner countries, front-end design, bug fixes, and content editing work for the Center’s new website launched at the end of my internship, and social media/communications tasks such as content creation for X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, drafting letters, and creating contact lists.
Did you work on one particular project or several initiatives?
I worked on several initiatives, and this variety of tasks boosted my work ethic, making my internship experience more fulfilling. The aforementioned mix between technical and qualitative tasks for projects such as the new website, the center’s social media, and planning for upcoming diplomatic trips allowed me to hone a variety of skills and helped me realize what I want my future jobs to look like. My favorite project was assisting with the new website as I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of website-related tasks.
How did you feel this added to your undergraduate career?
This experience added to my undergraduate career by exposing me to the professional world and work culture. I enjoyed the work environment and met many inspiring, welcoming people; I now know how much of a difference workplace culture can make. I also got first hand insight into the policy and diplomacy realms, which can seem daunting from the outside. Given the interdisciplinary nature of my environmental and business economics major, I decided to intern in D.C. to understand whether/how much I want to incorporate the policy sphere into my career. After my internship, I can safely say I enjoyed the complex and meaningful work that happens within policy and intend to keep it incorporated into my career.
What are your plans for the future? Did your internship alter these plans?
My plans for the future involve working for a year in the food industry (in the data analysis and/or marketing fields) after graduating from Rutgers in May 2024, and pursuing a master’s degree in Quantitative Economics. The prevalence of data-driven decision making and the continued need to boost evidence-based policymaking has further convinced me to pursue my higher education in this field. In other words, my internship experience affirmed my existing plans.