CAS’16 & Questrom’16 | International Relations
Intern (2011), Advisor (2013-2014)
Fabiola Portal had the opportunity to intern in the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico during the summer of 2011, which later led to an advising job during the summers of 2013 and 2014.
CCD: Tell us about your experience in the House of Representatives in Puerto Rico. What were your responsibilities?
Fabiola: During my first summer, I was part of an internship program designed for young scholars. One of my main responsibilities included working on a project that modeled a legal resolution. I worked for Representative Carlos Hernandez Lopez, who helped guide me on this project. At the end of the summer, I officially wrote up the resolution and presented it to the Representative for approval. He then presented it to Congress in August 2011. Due to this work, I was hired as an advisor in research and development during the summers of 2013 and 2014.
CCD: How did you find the position? What helped you get it? What resources (at BU or elsewhere) did you use?
Fabiola: I was nominated for my internship by Representative Carlos Hernandez Lopez and then selected by the House of Representatives Legislative Internship Program.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?
Fabiola: The best part is that I learned that I really like being placed in a professional setting and interacting with others in a workforce that I plan to be a part of in the future. The worst is that I often felt a little misguided or not well-informed of my tasks.
CCD: What are the top 3 skills you’ve learned from this experience?
Fabiola: I learned to be resourceful, self-sufficient, but flexible at the same time.
CCD: What is the one thing you’ve learned that will benefit any future internships or other hands-on experiences?
Fabiola: I learned to be self-guided in the work that I did. Sometimes in the workforce you don’t have specific direction, and you have to be resourceful and creative, focusing your productivity on showcasing your own ideas.
CCD: How has this experience changed your future plans?
Fabiola: This experience was amazing, and I am truly grateful it. Working in Representative Carlos Hernandez Lopez’s office made me aware of future opportunities in the government and elsewhere.
CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of a summer experience?
Fabiola: If you are struggling with the job, don’t be afraid to ask for help because people know you are working for the first time and are willing to help. I would also say that being self-sufficient and guiding yourself is important. Be proactive even if you are not told to go in a specific direction with a project or task.
CCD: What’s next for you?
Fabiola: An internship in Geneva, Switzerland. I also hope to have to have an internship with the Puerto Rican Representative in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2015.