Alum Testimonial – India Heckstall: How TFAS helped shape her future.

India Heckstall, an ICPES alumna, has recently been accepted to American University’s Masters of Public Policy program. She attended the summer 2014 programs and interned with Biocom. When she shared her exciting news with our staff, she explained that she owed her acceptance to the experience she gained last summer in Washington.

We asked India a few questions about her experience. Below, you will read her reflections on her internship, what she valued from the classes and her favorite things about DC.

India H - Cong. Swalwell (2)What was the best part of your internship?

  • The best part of my internship with Biocom was the amount of research I was given to do. At my internship I was able to enhance my research skills while also learning more about the legislative process and the importance of lobbyist groups. I was able to improve my public speaking skills by presenting to numerous Congressmen research I had completed on NIH funding. My internship better prepared me for the real world by giving me experience that is useful when applying to jobs after graduation. I was able to enhance or add new skills that are meaningful to my particular field of study.

What was the most important thing you took away from your internship?

  • The most important thing that I took away from my internship was the importance of making connections. My supervisor stressed the importance of making yourself known if you wanted to have a successful career.

What was your favorite class at George Mason University? What was the most valuable thing you learned in class?India - group at WM

  • My favorite class was Economic Problems and Public Policies. Professor Bradley was an amazing professor who brought economics to life. She used real-world examples to help students better understand economic concepts. She helped me understand better the importance of supply and demand and how it relates to everyday situations.

What was your favorite site briefing?

  • My favorite site briefing was the CIA. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to hear stories and speak with people who were on CIA missions. It was an experience that was invaluable and I am grateful that TFAS was able to give us the opportunity to learn more about the CIA through CIA personnel.

India - MLK & Jefferson Memorial (2)What was your favorite part of your summer with TFAS?

  • My favorite part of the entire summer was networking. Being from a small city, I always dreamed of moving to Washington DC after I graduated; however, I was unsure of how I could make this happen. TFAS gave me the opportunity to make connections with people in DC who would in the future offer me a job, internship, or even an opportunity to attend graduate school. Networking allowed me to secure my acceptance into American University’s School of Public Affairs. I believe that TFAS gave me the “edge” that many graduate school programs are looking for.

How did TFAS help prepare you for your senior year and deciding to go to graduate school for public policy?

  • TFAS helped prepare me for my senior year because it strengthened my desire to want to live in Washington DC after I graduate from Campbell University. While living in DC, I learned more about public policy and the experience helped me realize that this is exactly what I want to do. I am super excited to be returning to Washington DC after I graduate. I am even more excited and passionate about pursuing a career in public policy. Washington DC is the place for me to learn more about my field of study.

Are you interested in interning in DC this summer? Our application deadline has been extended to April 7th. Visit for more information and to start an application!

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