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Syracuse University iSchool student Emily Simens interns with the Federal Reserve Board.

Halfway Through My Internship at the Fed: Learning New Skills and Experiencing D.C.

When I first arrived at the Federal Reserve, my manager and team members wanted to know what I was interested in, and how this internship could help me learn. After trying out a few different small tasks, I chose to help with the firewall.

Before this job, I had a basic understanding of how firewalls worked since I took IST 323, Introduction to Information Security. It is pretty much just a list of rules containing what is and isn’t allowed into our network. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a real wall and there are no flames involved.

During this project, I learned how to use software that tracks use of different firewalls, met with the vendor, created reports, contacted employees internally, and managed parts that were going unused. I’m proud of my firewall project since it made a measurable impact on my team’s work, and may make the network more secure. My main goal was to do something helpful, and I think I succeeded!

A New Skill Learned

Since I’m curious about all different things the Network Infrastructure team is doing, they set me up with my own Cisco switch to play around with! For a few days, I read documentation, watched tutorials, and taught myself how to use the Cisco command line.

I was so happy when things started working, just like anything else in tech. This is a skill I’m looking to pursue more in the future because it’s fascinating to learn how the internet works, even down to the cables!

Internship Tip

During my internship, I learned that it’s important to take advantage of all the resources available to you. For example, I took an R programming workshop for free! The Fed has all sorts of different internal classes and tutorials that are available to everyone, including interns.

Some Recent Highlights

An amazing experience I had recently was meeting Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. I had a brief conversation with him, and was a little star struck. The Chairman does, after all, have an incredible impact on the United States economy!

He spoke to my intern class about how he used to spend his summers during college caddying and painting houses. The Chairman also answered our questions about what his day to day job is like, and what keeps him awake at night. This was an experience I’ll remember for a long time!

Another great perk of being in Washington, D.C. for the summer is getting to spend July 4th in the most patriotic location in the country! I spent the day with other interns kayaking at the DC Wharf and watching fireworks on the National Mall. The day was so much fun, since there are so many events and activities all around the city.

Thanks for keeping up with my summer so far! Looking forward to learning even more in the last few weeks of my internship.

Emily Simens

Emily Simens

I’m a rising junior in the iSchool and I’m from Hewlett, NY. In the past I’ve worked at Girls Who Code and the ITS department at SU. On campus I’m involved in Hillel, Information Security Club, and iSchool Peer Advisors.

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