2015 Undergraduate Public Service Scholar Emily Mediate uses a jerrycan to carry water while staying in Bulindi, Uganda.

Emily Mediate was an Undergraduate Public Service Scholar in 2015, when she interned for the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, Ethiopia desk.

Where are you from?
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Where did you go to school? What did you study?
University of Notre Dame, B.A. 2015 in Africana Studies and Health Studies
University of Oxford, MSc 2017 in Global Governance and Diplomacy
University of Oxford, Master of Public Policy (expected 2018)

What was the best part of your internship?
The part of my internship I enjoyed most was seeing firsthand how coordination among stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level works when developing national healthcare programs and policies. My internship offered me the opportunity to support coordination in developing a Zika virus pregnancy registry through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the execution of an inter-jurisdictional immunization data exchange pilot.

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
My advice is twofold – first, to realize that communication is key. When entering an office as an intern and thus, as a short-term outsider, it is crucial to get a feel for the office dynamic, to understand how things work, and to learn the preferred communication style of your supervisor. This will allow you to maximize how much you can learn and accomplish in your short period of time. Second, take the initiative. All of the internships I have had were made or broken by the amount of effort that I chose to put into them. If you quickly realize that the place where you are working is not for you, then that is perfectly fine. Try to find an area within your office that you are excited about – even if it means approaching your supervisor with your own ideas.

What are you doing now?
I just finished an internship this summer with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)’s office this summer, where I worked on healthcare and initiatives to stabilize the health insurance marketplace. I returned to Oxford this fall, where I am a Rhodes Scholar, to start my second degree!

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
I would love to be at the State Department in an official role as a Foreign Service Officer. While I have learned a great deal during my summer on the Hill, I miss working on foreign policy and issues in East Africa!

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
My favorite book is very hard – I would probably say it’s The Secret Life of Bees. I read it when I was in high school and loved its focus on women and the strong female role models who were characters in the novel. I would highly recommend reading A Little Life. I recently finished it and found it to be a wonderfully moving story of friendship, love, struggle, and loss. In my opinion, it’s the best modern epic out there.

Tell us a fun fact!
I was a synchronized swimmer for many years growing up, and I’m continuing my love of swimming as a member of Oxford’s Varsity water polo team!

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