Last fall, Appalachian State University student Cody Holmes spent six weeks as an intern with the US Department of State in Washington, DC.
The Walker College of Business senior economics major shared his experiences with us in a question and answer session.
Q: What was living in D.C. like?
Holmes: I loved living in D.C.! As a history minor, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Civil War battlefields and museums. Public transportation connects to many different parts of the city, which made traveling easy.
Q: Tell us about your internship.
Holmes: I came into the Department of State at an interesting time in national politics. I saw first-hand the challenges of foreign policy and the dedication of our nation’s diplomats. Specifically, I worked in Trade Policy and Negotiations in the Office of Agricultural Policy which provided a unique window into NAFTA negotiations and how they affect our agricultural products, along with United States’ promotion of biotechnology around the world. I was given a lot of lattitude in the projects they gave me and even got to present to senior leadership regarding the plight of discriminated groups in agricultural areas abroad and how that connects to international trade and economic well being.
Q: How did you learn about the internship opportunity?
Holmes: I searched for internships and found a hit on USAJOBS.com with the Department of State that had an application deadline the next day. Weeks after applying, they emailed me to request an interview and a writing sample and ultimately offered me the job. The hardest part of securing the internship was getting a place to live and being able to afford moving. I ended up working another night job at Subway on top of my existing day job and took two full sessions of summer classes to make sure I would graduate on time!
Q: Any funny stories to share?
Holmes: I think the most unique aspect of my story was that I was actually on Hillary Clinton’s campaign here in Watauga County. I thought having that on my resume could hurt my chances of being hired, and I was incredibly surprised when it didn't. It was interesting to work during the Trump administration with that particular experience on my resume!
Q: Who at Appalachian has helped you along the way?
Holmes: My supervisor at the department told me that the marketing aspect of my job at Appalachian Food Services influenced their decision to choose me. I am forever grateful to my supervisors and colleagues at Food Services, Joelle Justiz and Heather Brandon.
Business Career Services advisor Veronica Lozano-Toub was very helpful in helping me gather everything needed to get credit for my internship. She was very supportive throughout the entire process.
Q: Why should others come to Appalachian?
Holmes: Appalachian has a strong culture of community service and student involvement that I feel is essential to the growth of any individual.
Holmes has worked as a student coordinator in human resources and marketing for Appalachian’s Food Services and has served as president of one of Appalachian’s multicultural organizations, overseeing partnerships with religious organizations and the creation of a scholarship for students facing financial issues. He has also served as co-chair to Leave Yosef a Legacy, a campus-wide event that provided student volunteers to various charitable organizations around Boone.
Holmes hopes to work for the San Antonio city government. "I want to serve the city that made me who I am," he said.