3L Valery Giebel shares her summer experience interning at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington DC.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a local who grew up in Tulsa very near TU. I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. I went to Memorial High School then attended undergrad at Virginia Commonwealth University. I worked as a paralegal for three years, half in Atlanta and half in Tulsa. I am happily married with a baby on the way and I am on schedule to graduate on time this upcoming May 2013. I have been focusing my studies while at TU on Native American Law and Natural Resource and Energy Law. I am on track to get certificates in both disciplines. After graduation I hope to find a job for an Oklahoma Tribe or a government position furthering tribal interests.
Where were you this summer and what did you do there? What were your tasks and activities?
This summer I spent 10 weeks working at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington DC. I was a legal intern in the Office of Enforcement in the Division of Investigations and my efforts were focused on electric reliability matters. It is a mouthful but it was a very rewarding experience.
I was responsible for lots of legal research as well as developing legal strategies to use in confidential non-public investigations. Additionally, I researched what legal authorities could be used to support new reliability standards. I also reviewed filings that were made to FERC regarding electric reliability from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.
While I was in Washington DC I was also able to attend Commission meetings, interviews and various meetings with Independent System Operators.
How did you get this internship?
I received an email about this opportunity from Dean Cordell and another email from the editor of ELJ. I applied by email and about a month later received a phone call from the intern coordinator. I had a preliminary interview that day and afterward was scheduled for another interview with three others for later that week. Initially I was not offered a position because they were only looking for five candidates. However a month after my first round of interviews I was called back for another interview. It was for a new position that had just been created in electric reliability. Later I was told that I was selected for this second position because I had been persistent, kind and considerate in my initial interviews and I had followed up with thank you notes after my initial rejection. I was ultimately selected to be one of six interns out of a field of hundreds of applicants nationwide. My colleagues this summer hailed from George Mason University, University of Vermont, Harvard, Georgetown and Mc George School of Law.
What have you learned from your stay and your internship?
If you are going to spend a summer in DC be sure to network. I went to brown bag lunches with the Native American Bar Association and the Energy Bar Association. I attended happy hours with my co-workers and baseball games. While your work will leave an impression so will your attitude and your eagerness to get to know your supervisors and colleagues.
Also I lived in Fairfax, VA while I was in DC this summer and at first I thought it would be very difficult to get back and forth because it was an hour train ride each way. But I came to enjoy this time and used it for research and reading. So if you are looking for a place to live for the summer it is very feasible to live in the suburbs. Also living in VA allowed me to have my car which made traveling easier. It is amazing the amount of stuff you might need in a three month period. Also I was able to travel because I had my car so I took day trips to areas around DC. I also spent a weekend in NC and in DE.
Talk about one thing that has stuck with you during your internship.
This was my first experience working with the federal government and I got to see first hand exactly how important Federal Admin Law. Also I was surprised at how much statutory construction came up and so I am glad I had experience in that as well.
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