Meet TFAS alumna Junia Lee ’23 from Flower Mound, TX. Junia’s immersive summer in Washington, D.C., as part of the Business + Government Relations track, revealed a compelling fusion of real-world experience and deep insights into the intersection of business strategy and public policy.
🎓 University: Texas Tech University
📚 Major: Business Administration: Management
📍 Hometown: Flower Mound, TX
🧭 Program Track: Business + Government Relations
💼 Internship: Penn Quarter Partners
What was the most interesting thing you did at your internship?
During my eight weeks in D.C., I interned for Penn Quarter Partners (PQP), a strategic consulting firm for public health, communications and health policy. PQP has helped me grasp how important media and strategy are when it comes to working with pharmaceutical companies. From media auditing to researching different opportunities and impacts on pertinent health issues, I found that navigating the strategic consulting field of health policy opened up many different interests and opportunities for me.
One of the most interesting things that I got to do as an intern was attending Capitol Hill Briefings—either put on by Penn Quarter Partners and different clients or by other advocacy groups. These events were held at the Russell Senate Office Building and the Rayburn House Office Building. It was very interesting to not only go into the Congressional office buildings but also to see active discussions and briefings about ongoing issues and concerns from a multitude of organizations and advocacy groups.
What did you like most about living in Washington, D.C.?
This was my first professional experience living in a city, so it was both daunting and exciting. Overall, I loved the spontaneity of D.C. and how there was always something thrilling, something new to try or experience. I really took advantage of traveling to different places by walking, Metro or Uber—even got the unlimited Metro pass for both months!
During my time here, I was able to explore more than 20 different restaurants and more than 30 different tourist spots, which may be ironic since I was born and raised in the States.
Some neighborhoods that I visited and loved were:
- Adams Morgan
- Foggy Bottom
- Capitol Hill
- L’Enfant Plaza
- Penn Quarter
- Federal Triangle
- Eastern Market
- The Wharf
- Navy Yard
Some of my favorite things that I got to do were explore the Smithsonian museums (especially the Portrait Gallery, the African American Art Museum and the National Museum of Asian Art), visit private museums (like the Kreeger Museum), attend a foodie event called the Best of Washington, see the Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall and shop in Georgetown and Penn Quarter (which I probably did every other day)!
How did you grow professionally during your time in Washington, D.C.?
A significant skill that Washington, D.C. teaches you is networking! Through TFAS, I was paired with a mentor, Abby, who helped me hone in on my goals and aspirations. She also facilitated connections with many professionals who held positions and had experience in my area of interest. This experience allowed me to gauge the skills required in a workspace (such as time management, communication, creativity, consistency, etc.) and understand the importance of meeting and conversing with diverse individuals.
Whether it was just grabbing coffee or a drink at happy hour, I was able to not only grow my LinkedIn connections but also gain a lot of different perspectives on the industry and career opportunities for me after graduation. I loved how open so many people were about connecting via call or in person to chat about quite literally anything—this was how I got to meet so many people of various backgrounds and experiences!
What was your favorite TFAS event?
My favorite TFAS event would have to be the site briefing on the Floor of the House of U.S. Representatives in the Capitol. We got to tour the Capitol and meet a TFAS alumnus, Representative David Rouzer, who serves in the House of Representatives. We got to see and talk about the processes that go on in the House, first hand!
What advice do you have for future TFAS students?
Seize the opportunity to become a better version of yourself during the next eight weeks. Something I have learned is to never accept ‘no’ before it is given to you; every opportunity should be viewed with possibility. Even if the odds are not in your favor, if you start with nothing and continue to do nothing, you have neither gained nor lost anything. And to me, the scariest thing about not taking that chance, that risk, is remaining stagnant in your journey toward success.
So, reach out to different people, grab coffee with some professionals and explore the area! Don’t be afraid to live to the fullest!