The Dale Hatfield Scholars and Research Program provides support for student internships in governmental or public interest organizations that work for the public good. This program was made possible by a number of very generous contributions made to honor Dale Hatfield and his commitment to public service. This past summer, two students interned in Washington, DC and were supported by a grant from the Hatfield Scholars Program.
The Dale Hatfield Scholars and Research Program provides support for student internships in governmental or public interest organizations that work for the public good. This program was made possible by a number of very generous contributions made to honor Dale Hatfield and his commitment to public service. This past summer, two students interned in Washington, DC and were supported by a grant from the Hatfield Scholars Program. Through an application process, students were chosen and matched with companies according to their interests. Rebecca Coffelt, a third year law student, worked as an intern for Commissioner Jon Leibowitz at the Federal Trade Commission and Vikram Thakur, a second year ITP student, worked at National Emergency Numbers Association (NENA), a not-for-profit organization facilitating improvement and implementation of universal 9-1-1 services. Below, Coffelt and Thakur recollect on their experiences and participation in the Hatfield Scholars Program.
Rebecca Coffelt wrote the following about her internship working for Commissioner Jon Leibowitz at the Federal Trade Commission:
I got to be a part of many exciting things while working for Commissioner Jon Leibowitz at the Federal Trade Commission this summer. When I arrived the office was preparing for the Commissioner to testify on the Hill. I also attended Senate hearings on Spyware, behavioral marketing, and high petroleum prices. My daily work consisted of assisting the Commissioner’s staff in preparing for meetings with stakeholders, workshops, voting decisions, amending reports, and speeches. Additionally, I analyzed and researched issues relating to: the proposed market manipulation rule, freedom of speech in commercial advertisements, the public comments to the behavioral marketing principles, reverse payments of brand pharmaceuticals to generics, and a blocked health care merger.
This was an opportunity to take what I had learned in a classroom about policy and law and apply it in a setting where these ideas were heard by those making the important decisions. The posed questions were no longer theoretical conjecture; they were now positions that could bring about results and consequences. In preparing for a conference I was asked how the agencies and industries were doing with the digital TV transition, and what if anything should be done to improve the consumer education. This was a question I had already thought about, but now I was able to put my enthusiasm for these issues towards a concrete purpose.
While the benefits of my experience will still be realized for years to come, I have been immediately impacted in several ways. I felt how rewarding it was to use my legal training in the fight for the public good on a systematic level. Consumers benefit tremendously from the actions of the Federal Trade Commission. I saw how Congress and several agencies have to interact to solve any one problem. Getting this front row seat to the political processes affirmed my faith and confidence in the system. I learned from watching the most accomplished professionals in their field navigate difficult conversations. My research skills were sharpened in having to sift through congressional reports and appropriations. I attended career building and networking events, including speaking at the Dale Hatfield reception. There I met many of you who have contributed to Silicon Flatirons and the Hatfield Award. I am grateful for this financial support which made the training and exposure I received in Washington D.C. a possibility.
Rebecca Coffelt is a student at the University of Colorado School of Law. She has worked in telecommunications law as a Clerk at Stoel Rives, and Qwest. Rebecca also gained experience in public service and policy while working for a State Senator and several non-profits.
Vikram Thakur wrote the following about his internship at National Emergency Numbers Association (NENA), a not-for-profit organization facilitating improvement and implementation of universal 9-1-1 services:
This past summer I received the ‘Hatfield Scholarship’ and had an opportunity to work as an intern at NENA at Arlington (VA). While working for the agency I learned about the 9-1-1 policies and technologies, with primary focus on NG 9-1-1 (Next Generation 9-1-1) and its implementation. On the behalf of NENA, I was involved in the ‘USDOT: NG 9-1-1 POC’ project and was an integral part of the team, handling network infrastructure and software implementation aspects of the project. I provided extensive support during the lab testing, system wide testing and demonstration phase of the project, working at the labs at Booz-Allen-Hamilton, Herndon (VA) while at the same time working with NG 9-1-1 Security Working group. During the course of the internship I also represented the NG 9-1-1 POC team at King County, Seattle where I was involved in the demonstrations phase of the project
I also had the opportunity to attend the Next Generation Partner Program meetings which gave me an understanding of the various policy, interoperability and technical issues related to NG 9-1-1. As an engineer, it was an interesting realization for me that the technical issues are probably easier to solve and in fact it is the policy and interoperability issues which take much longer to resolve. In June, I attended the 2008 NENA Annual Conference in Tampa (FL), where I acquired an insight into the vendor related and commercial aspects of NG 9-1-1 and a deeper understanding of the role of NENA and other players in the NG 9-1-1 effort.
Vikram Thakur is a student pursuing his Master’s in the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is particularly interested in the interdisciplinary domain of consulting which involves law, policy and regulatory aspects of technology.