Interrupted by the pandemic, D.C. summer interns are back in person

Just as cherry blossoms signal the arrival of spring in Washington, the sight of eager hordes of interns headed out to lunch on downtown streets, attending lectures at wonky think tanks or navigating Capitol Hill corridors was always a sure sign that summer had arrived.

This summer marks a return to almost normal, employers and internship program administrators say. And they’re relieved; to them, it’s hard to replace the value of an in-person experience for students trying to find a career path or make the contacts essential to landing jobs.

McKenzie Ingram is another intern whose job isn’t typical D.C. fare. A graduate student in environmental science at American University, Ingram, 20, is spending her second summer as an intern at Anacostia Riverkeeper, where her duties have included everything from tracking bacteria pollution in the river to organizing volunteer clean ups, leading boat tours and hosting the organization’s Friday Night Fishing events. The experience, she said, has been educational professionally and transformative personally.