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Welcome to NTIA!

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By Kasey El-Chayeb, on June 9, 2014

commWelcome reader! I’m excited to share my experience interning with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with you. NTIA is located within the Department of Commerce and this is my first week interning in the Office of Public Affairs (OPA). NTIA is an executive branch agency whose role is to advise the president on telecommunication and information policy issues. The agency’s primary role has been managing use of spectrum. Broadcasters, government agencies, cell phone companies, and a whole host of other organizations depend on spectrum radio frequency. NTIA is also involved in Internet policy, cyber security, and broadband initiatives.

In selecting an internship, I had hoped for two things: something public affairs-related and something in Washington D.C. Having studied journalism and public relations in college, public affairs was a natural next step. I’m eager to experience federal level communication management. The Department of Commerce is located off Constitution Avenue, steps from historic monuments and only minutes from the White House. It is also the second largest federal building in D.C., behind the Pentagon. I’ve gotten lost within the building every day this week.

Why did I choose NTIA ? NTIA’s initiatives influence North Carolina, the country as a whole, and communities abroad. Internet accessibility is an important public administration issue. In general, digital communication is a rapidly expanding and increasingly controversial topic that we are sure to hear more about in all areas of government. My interest in Internet policy, privacy issues, and Internet governance began in journalism school at UNC-CH and has since blossomed in my public administration courses at the School of Government.

Since this is my first week in the internship, it’s taking me some time to get up to speed on the technical issues public affairs staff cover. Fortunately, the OPA staff has been warm, welcoming, and very patient. I have also been introduced to the rest of NTIA, all of whom have greeted me enthusiastically. OPA is a relatively small office within the administration but is tasked with managing the agency’s communication with press and various other stakeholders, in addition to coordinating communication strategy. As you can imagine, a public affairs employee must have a general knowledge of all of NTIA issues and initiatives in order to respond to inquiries and draft and edit documents covering these topics. Here are a few topics I have started to learn about this week:

Privacy and accessibility are interesting concepts that span NTIA initiatives. I will be learning more about these topics as I attend events, meetings, and workshops throughout D.C. and as I work on internal public affairs projects. Looking forward to sharing more with you next week!

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