GUWIL Hoya Spotlight – Lauren Iannolo

BIO: Lauren is a junior in the College majoring in Economics and minoring in Computer Science from Long Island, New York. She is passionate about public policy and finance and has been active in organizations on campus such as Smart Woman Securities, Georgetown University Student Investment Fund (GUSIF), and the D.C. Schools Project. Lauren interned at the Executive Office of the President of the United States this fall and at the U.S. Department of the Treasury last summer. She’s excited to be spending this coming summer in D.C. again, working at Navigant, in the Disputes and Investigations consulting area. In her free time she enjoys drawing, painting, digital photography and spending time with family and friends

Q: How did you get interested in Economics and

Computer Science and how did you decide it was something you wanted to pursue for a major and/or career?
A: When I first applied to Georgetown I genuinely had no idea what I wanted to major in. I had taken microeconomics in high school and really liked it, so first semester freshman year I took macroeconomics and my professor really emphasized the role of the Federal Reserve in working to improve the economy as it was coming out of the recession which I found really interesting. To me, economics is a tool that can be used to directly impact the lives of others in a positive way. An economist may not be working directly with people as a doctor or lawyer would, but the work that policy makers do to improve the economy directly affects the lifestyle and day to day choices of each and every person in our country, which I think is pretty cool. Similarly, I was interested in computer science because of its analytical nature and basis in problem solving. I think that programming is such a relevant and necessary skill to have. I really wanted to be able to code since technology is only going to become more pervasive in our society moving forward and I discovered that it was something that I enjoyed as well.

Q: What did you do standout when applying for an internship (with the government)?
A: When I applied to work at the Treasury last summer, I did not have any prior internship experience and submitted my resume to the USAjobs site, quite frankly not expecting to hear anything back. I had three interviews with different areas of the Treasury before I had the interview for the position I received and interestingly enough, the last office was given my name from one of the offices that did not extend me an offer because I had emailed my interviewer back a thank you anyway after she let me know that they weren’t hiring me. This made me really realize the importance of etiquette and sending thank you notes throughout the process. I think that being polite and also just getting lucky got me that job.

Q: How did you prepare for your interview?
A: I prepared answers to the typical interview questions and researched the area that I was interviewing with to try to get a feel for the type of work they did so I could ask educated questions. The government uses a lot of acronyms so I tried to familiarize myself with those too since my interviewers used them and I wanted to show that I had done my research.

Q: How do you deal with a rigorous academic schedule coupled with a demanding internship?
A: I think it’s really important to make sure that you leave plenty of room in your schedule open when interning during the semester. You have to account not only for the hours that you are working but also how long it will take to get to the workplace, considering traffic. You want to make sure you’re not cutting it too close or that will just add unnecessary stress. I also was taking classes that did not require much reading because I knew I would have less time to do it, so I would advise people to try to take classes that don’t have chapters upon chapters of reading due each session if you’re planning to intern.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you faced in the workplace and how did you overcome it?
A: I think the biggest challenge would be balancing different tasks and assignments that I was given. I was the only intern in my area that worked part time this past semester, so I had less time to work on my projects than my colleagues, but still wanted to do an equally good job. I overcame this by making sure I was being as efficient as possible for the time that I was at work. I made sure to let my supervisor know if I was on track so that we could work together to make sure that we had realistic expectations for when things would get done.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in having an internship during the school year?
A: I would say that they should make sure to set themselves up for as little stress as possible by planning classes around the times when they would intern. I started thinking about wanting to intern during the school year the semester before so that during preregistration I could set up my classes in a way that would allow me to. I would also advise that they really consider how long it will take to get to the internship. I tried to pick places I knew would take 45 minutes or under in D.C. traffic because I knew that I didn’t want to have to deal with a stressful commute, and stuck to applying to places within that radius.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? Modern feminism?
A: I had to think about this one, there is so much that I want to cover in what I believe feminism is, so I’m going to attempt to make my answer as fluid as possible. I think that feminism, to me, means being confident enough in yourself and respecting yourself enough that you do not let anything stop you from going after what you want and achieving it. This doesn’t only have to apply to academic or career goals, girls should feel this way about all aspects of their well-being, for example, regarding their body image, relationships, and personal goals. I think that this is even more important today because women have so many opportunities that they did not in the past. However, I also believe that there is even more pressure on girls to do it all or to feel like they have to be “perfect”, especially here at Georgetown where it seems like everyone does it all, has it all together, and looks put together doing it all. I think that because of this it is even more important to maintain a strong sense of self-worth and not fall victim to unrealistic standards. That is what modern feminism means to me, maintaining a strong sense of self worth even as the media or others may attempt to give us reasons to doubt ourselves, our abilities or how deserving we are of happiness. Everybody should believe deep in their heart that they rock and can do anything they put their mind to.

Q: How has your Georgetown education thus far prepared you for your future?
A: I think that my Georgetown education has definitely made me well rounded. I’m in the college and even though there have been times when I’ve wondered if I should have applied to the business school to dive deeper into finance, or the school of foreign service to take more international focused classes, I have to say that I am really glad that I’m in the college. Having so many open electives has allowed me to try many different things, like computer science, and to develop different skill sets. I think that creating well rounded students is something that Georgetown and its core curriculum really does well. I really do feel that Georgetown has helped me foster skills that I will use in whatever future career I pursue. I also think that Georgetown has helped to make me a service minded person, which will stick with me the rest of my life.

Q: What’s the best piece of professional or career advice you’ve ever received?
A: I heard Lindsey Pollak, author of “Getting from College to Career”, speak over the summer and something she said that really stuck with me was, “put yourself in the best position to get lucky”. I think this rings true in the professional and personal sense. Many people who we consider “lucky” in terms of career accomplishments or personal endeavors worked very hard to make something happen for themselves. Luck is luck, but I think that there are definitely things we can do to improve our chances of “getting lucky.”

Q: Where do you see yourself going from here? What’s your next move?
A: Career-wise, this summer I’m really excited to be working at a consulting firm in D.C. It will give me a chance to see what its like to intern in the private sector and pursue some of my other interests. As far as my next actual “move,” next week I’m traveling to Nebraska for a conference through Smart Women Securities, an organization that I’m in on campus, that along with teaching girls about finance and investing, offers the change to enter to meet with Warren Buffet, and other business leaders, in his hometown of Omaha. I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity the SWS has provided me and strongly encourage girls who are curious about finance or simply want to learn how to manage their own money, to stop by one of our info sessions next fall and learn about the seminar series we offer as well as other opportunities to get involved!

Get to know Lauren and check out her answers to the GUWIL Quiz!