Monday, February 7, 2005
Student completes internship in Washington, D.C.
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
While most students were sitting in a classroom last fall, OU student Antonio Augustyniak was in Washington, D.C., completing an internship with The Washington Center, which provides internships with government or government-related organizations to students who are looking to gain experience in the nation’s capitol.
Augustyniak, a marketing major, decided to pursue the internship after receiving an e-mail from OU’s Disability Support Services (DSS) about scholarships available to students with learning disabilities, like himself, to help fund The Washington Center internship.
“At first, it was a cool idea and then it developed into—I’m going to Washington,” Augustyniak said.
Augustyniak’s internship was with the Department of Veterans Affairs where his responsibility was to research and benchmark the department as an employer. The Department of Veterans Affairs will use the data to improve employee relations.
Augustyniak had never worked in an office environment and said he learned invaluable skills from the internship, including communication, time management and networking skills.
“The internship shows you how you have to conduct yourself in a work environment,” he said.
Augustyniak also learned more about the government from watching it work and appreciates its size and function more now.
“Many people don’t know what it takes to make a monstrous thing called the government work,” he said.
Besides working at the Department of Veterans Affairs 37.5 hours per week, Augustyniak was required to take a class, complete a series of lecture analyses, and volunteer in the community. He volunteered for Caring Spoons at the VA medical center in Washington, D.C. The Caring Spoons volunteers help feed veterans who are not able to feed themselves.
“It was gratifying,” Augustyniak said. “It was the first time I’ve done volunteer work.”
Augustyniak also learned a lot from living with a diverse group of people. His roommates were from Mexico, Puerto Rico and Maryland, all with different majors and interning in different areas.
“I know the experience has had a profound impact on him. He has a direction and has set some goals for himself,” said Linda Sisson, director of DSS. “This opportunity helped him to realize that he can actualize his goals and make them a reality.”
Among those goals, Augustyniak would like to continue his education and pursue a master’s degree in international business.
If he could, he also would like to complete more internships with The Washington Center.
“There is a wonderful opportunity down there for people looking for internships,” Augustyniak said. “There isn’t an internship they can’t match with a major.”