Grace Burberry-Martin ’11, profiled here, discovered the many benefits that come with a Praxis internship. This year, thanks to generous recent gifts, Smith was able to increase the the level of Praxis stipends to $2,400 for U.S. internships and $3,500 for international internships.
When Grace Burberry-Martin ’11 sat down for the final job interview during a nerve-jangling three-hour session at a consulting agency in Washington, D.C., she was asked a question.
“How many interns do you think work in D.C. during a given summer?”
With her answer, Burberry-Martin, who coincidentally had recently completed a summer Praxis internship in the city, thought she ruined the interview and lost the job. “It wasn’t about the number – I don’t think he had a number in mind,” she realized later, “it was about the process of how I arrived at the answer.”
Within a week, the telephone rang with a job offer.
Now, a year after her Praxis internship ended, Burberry-Martin will be among the newest class of federal analysts in the area of strategy and operations at Deloitte Consulting. The work will largely depend on her client, but her interests lie in the operations of the nation’s defense industry.
For a 22-year-old who is passionate about government – no form of government more so than democracy – and knew that she wanted to major in that subject even before she came to Smith, working with federal agencies in the nation’s capital is a dream come true.
And, it is a dream that began over dinner with an acquaintance as she prepared to leave Washington at the end of her internship at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
The other woman sharing the meal happened to work at Deloitte Consulting and, after hearing about the experience at NCIS, thought Burberry-Martin would enjoy the consulting work. So, that woman brought the Smith student’s resume to her colleagues.
Burberry-Martin, originally from the small town of Hopedale, Mass., had fallen in love with Washington during that summer. She loved everything from the city’s history to the intense heat and the Metro, the regional transportation system in the national capital area.
“Internships are vitally important to help students build on their academic studies, make decisions about their careers, and acquire the skills desired by employers in a very competitive marketplace,” said Stacie Hagenbaugh, director of the Career Development Office, which administers the Praxis program. Approximately 400 students per year receive Praxis stipends for summer internships.
Despite her suspicion that she would mainly have simple tasks at NCIS, she had been given research to pursue. NCIS had also offered its interns the opportunity to get to know other parts of the work realm, such as firearms training. Burberry-Martin never suspected she’d enjoy it until after she fired a pistol, submachine gun and a 12-gauge shotgun.
“Literally not a day goes by that I don’t think how fortunate I am,” she said. “A lot of that is the connections I’ve made because of Smith.”
During her years at Smith, Burberry-Martin has worked several jobs, served in the Student Senate, the Student Government Association’s Curriculum Committee and the College Judicial Board (which she now chairs).
And Burberry-Martin has already given back to Smith by becoming the youngest member of the Grécourt Society – a group of alumnae and friends who have included Smith in their estate plans through a will or a similar method. When she wrote her will, Burberry-Martin designated 10 percent of her savings to Smith and, specifically, the Praxis internship program.
At commencement, Burberry-Martin will wear the Grécourt Society pin on her robe. At least six members of her family and her boyfriend, Sean, an engineer in New Hampshire, will be watching.
From now on, Burberry-Martin said, all the birthday presents that she gives family and friends will be airplane tickets to visit her in Washington.
Because, when she returns to the city next time, Burberry-Martin will no longer be an intern, but a federal analyst.