CSU in DC: Spring 2020 graduate Bridget Murphy gained practical experience through Homeland Security internship

U.S. Capitol Building
The CSU in DC program gives CSU students of all majors the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C.

Imagine editing the talking points for the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Then allow yourself to imagine doing this task as an undergraduate intern. This hypothetical became a reality for recent political science graduate Bridget Murphy when she scored an internship with the Department of Homeland Security.

Discovering her interest

Bridget Murphy at her desk at DHS
Bridget Murphy (Political Science B.A. ’20) interned at the Department of Homeland Security during the spring 2020 semester

In fall 2019 Murphy took a class in international security and immediately fell in love with the subject. “It’s an appealing field because it is so versatile and is always changing,” said Murphy.

The class sparked Murphy’s curiosity about how federal governments prioritize security issues. When Murphy received an offer through The Washing Center to intern with the Department of Homeland Security, she found a perfect match for her newly discovered interest.

A new learning environment

In January, Murphy relocated to Washington D.C. to work for the Homeland Security Advisory Council, the primary body that advises the Department of Homeland Security. Completing an evening course along with her internship allowed her to earn nine CSU credits while gaining hands-on experience with the federal government. Murphy often worked long hours to get everything done.

“Prioritization is the number one thing I learned,” said Murphy. “At any one time you could have six different things going on including documents to work on or things you just need to do and if the boss asks you to edit the secretary’s memo you do it and it becomes your number one task.”

Murphy, a self-identified introvert, also learned to make the most of networking opportunities.

“Networking is huge in D.C. and it is so important so you have to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself and immerse yourself in those uncomfortable situations,” said Murphy.

Preparation through CSU

Murphy’s smooth transition into her highly demanding internship was not born by chance. Her undergraduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts prepared her to think, write, and research in a critical and concise fashion.

“CLA promotes such a higher level of thinking, analysis, and professional writing and is really big on logic and critical thinking,” said Murphy. “In every single class I took we were encouraged to think critically in our arguments, check sources against counter arguments, have a well-rounded idea of knowledge and perspective around the topic, and apply logic.”

Murphy relied heavily on this ability to evaluate sources.

“In DHS if you’re asked to research something for the federal government, you better be sure you’re getting factual information and getting many different perspectives,” said Murphy.

DHS building
The Department of Homeland Security entrance.
Bridget Murphy, supreme court building exterior
Bridget Murphy outside the Supreme Court building
CSU in D.C. Info Session Wed. Sept 2 at noon

CSU in D.C. Info Session

Interested in getting internship experience in Washington D.C.? The Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership, the Department of Political Science, and the Washington Center created a semester-long internship program for undergraduate students of all majors.

Join us for the Open House to learn more about the program and get all of your questions answered.

Wed., September 2
Noon – 1 p.m. on Zoom

RSVP: Sam.Houghteling

Interns meeting HUD Secretary Carson
Bridget Murphy and additional Washington Center interns meeting with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

Future aspirations

Murphy’s internship helped form her post-graduation plans. “It’s opened up opportunities that I didn’t even know existed,” said Murphy. She is hoping to get a contract position with DHS that she learned about through her internship.

Additionally, Murphy is preparing for the LSAT as her experience furthered her interest in law. “My evening course on the First Amendment was one of my favorite classes that I have ever taken and solidified my plan to be an attorney,” said Murphy.

Murphy’s experience at CSU, specifically her studies in the College of Liberal Arts, cultivated an interest in national security and prepared her for the rigorous responsibilities of working for a government agency. The skills Murphy gained will continue to serve her as she begins her career.