#UDIntern: Lessons Learned


This summer I have the amazing opportunity to both intern for The Delaware Water Resources Center and be a Public Policy Fellow with the Institute for Public Administration. I thought the summer was simply going to be a time to build my resume and make some money. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve learned lessons that will help during an internship and throughout my career after. Here are some of my biggest takeaways so far:


1.) It’s all about experience

If you’re like me, with two majors, you might think that your major is the most important thing in the world. As a student the first thing I ask fellow peers is “So what’s your major?”. In the month I’ve been working I haven’t been asked that once. What I have been asked numerous times is what I have experience in. I can’t use my degree to be a dentist, but I shouldn’t let it limit my options. Don’t be afraid to apply to a position that intrigues you even though it isn’t exactly within your major. Get experience in what interests you! Your major is just one line on your resume, the rest is filled with your experience.


2.) Say yes to all opportunities

With the fellows program, we were given the opportunity to go down to Dover, Delaware and visit Legislative Hall. I had a ton of work to do that day, but I begrudgingly agreed to go. I ended up meeting numerous state representatives, got to spend 30 minutes at lunch with the Governor’s Chief of Staff, and best of all met the Governor himself, Jack Markell. This experience was truly priceless. Go on the random trip if it’s offered or be the one to volunteer for something because you never know where it might take you.


3.) Your credibility is all you have

This was a lesson from the Chief of Staff, Michael Barlow. People can hear words, facts and convincing statements from anyone, but whether or not they trust you and trust your judgement is everything. If you have a tarnished reputation or a poor sense of judgement, you won’t get far.


4.)Work on the things you can control

This seems pretty self-explanatory but it is something I often don’t think about. Often times I worry about things that won’t change no matter what I do. It’s more important to focus on the things that one can control like effort, punctuality, work ethic, energy, attitude, and passion. Those things make an intern stand out beyond everyone else.

What I’ve learned so far not only will help me with future internships, but these lessons all apply to life after college as well. Take any internship opportunity as one to learn more than you ever could about the real world in a classroom.


Natalie Criscenzo is a rising junior Public Policy and Energy & Environmental Policy double major with a minor in Environmental Humanities. She is the VP of University Affairs for the Student Government Association, a Blue Hen Ambassador for the University of Delaware Admissions Office, and a student ambassador for the Delaware Environmental Institute. Feel free to add her on LinkedIn!

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