Career IDEAs Externship Program: The Partnership for Public Service

Christie Julien – February 7th, 2018

Partnership for Public Service

This winter I participated in a three-day job shadowing experience at the Partnership for Public Service through UVA’s Career IDEAs Externship Program. UVA alumna Juliet Choi serves as the Director of Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C. From January 8th to January 10th, Ms. Choi welcomed me to observe meetings and events, arranged for me to conduct informational interviews with several of her colleagues, and graciously fielded my questions about the Partnership and her career.

            Externing at the Partnership for Public Service broadened my professional worldview. My experience at the Partnership confirmed my interest in pursuing a public service career, but now I know that public service can mean more than working as a federal government employee. Ms. Choi, as well as entry- and manager-level employees in different teams, taught me that the Partnership’s approach to improving government encompasses the creation of leadership development courses, the promotion of government careers among students, and advocacy for civil service reform. I also noted that the Partnership collaborates with consulting firms and with corporate sponsors to achieve its mission of transforming government. Although I still hope to work within government for part of my career, the insight I gained at the Partnership motivates me to explore the nonprofit world and the private sector as I look into summer internships in the short-term and into fulltime jobs down the road.

            Externing helped me make the most of my winter break. Diving into a new workplace with nearly one hundred employees for three days pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, the inspiring, mission-driven professionals I met and the information I learned about public service undoubtedly made the experience worthwhile. I’m grateful to Ms. Juliet Choi and the Partnership for Public Service for giving me space to practice communication skills in a professional setting, for allowing me to reassess and sharpen my career goals, and for showing me what improving government looks like in practice. 


The Career IDEAs Externship Program aims to connect students with meaningful externship opportunities in J-Term and during the Summer months. Students apply to the program via Handshake and get selected by an externship site that will help them explore the industry of their choice. The program is open to all students, but priority will be given to those who have not had an externship or internship experience. The following groups are especially encouraged to apply: 2nd and 3rd years who are first-generation college students and part of under-represented populations.  Learn more about the program.  Applications Open In March for Summer 2018! This program is made possible due to partnership with the UVA IDEA Fund.  Learn more about the IDEA Fund here.