CLS Strategies Intern Spotlight: Dana Childs

CLS Strategies Intern Spotlight: Dana Childs

DanaDana was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the United States when he was four months old. He was raised an hour south of Boston and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Political Science from Suffolk University after earning his undergraduate degree in history. Previously, he was a Communications Director in the Massachusetts State Senate before leaving the position to go to graduate school full-time. Dana is a self-described a history nerd, and a huge Boston sports fan.

Who/what has had the most impact on your academic or professional interests?

I’ve had some pretty influential professors and teachers that have shaped my goals. I think the most influential was my AP European History teacher in my sophomore year that got me hooked on history, which I would go on to major in for my undergraduate degree. He pushed me to not only learn about history, but also to apply the lessons it can teach to current issues. Political history continues to fanscinate me, especially as it relates to how social movements have led to legislation.

What do you look for in an internship experience, and how has this shaped your career goals?

When I started looking for an internship I wanted to go somewhere I could build upon my previous experience. Coming from the government side of things, I was excited to see what communications strategy looked like from the other side of the fence.

What are your long-term career goals?

I don’t have specific goals in mind as of yet but definitely want to do something in the political sphere. I’m kind of a policy nerd so whether it’s from a private sector or governmental side of things, I definitely want to do something that involves affecting policy for the better.

What has surprised you so far about your journey towards your career goals? 

I wasn’t planning to look for an internship in DC until I spent two weeks here for a seminar with The Washington Center back in May. I really enjoyed my time in the city and took advantage of the internship requirement for my degree to come back. I’ve always wanted to end up in DC but never thought I’d be here this soon!

Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

My first experience with public relations came with my position in the Massachusetts State Senate. I had gotten into the office as an intern and I really wasn’t expecting to get a full-time position but they needed someone to fill the role. I really enjoyed the job which ranged from running my boss’ social media, drafting press releases, and organizing interviews with media outlets. When I left the position to get my graduate degree, I took a class in how lobby affects legislation and decided that I wanted to get experience in public relations from the other perspective.

What comes easiest to you as an intern at CLS Strategies?

With my previous experience in political communications, I was generally familiar with some of the media monitoring and lobbying aspects of the internship. It really helped lessen the learning curve.

What has been your biggest challenge as an intern at CLS Strategies? How do you address that?

The biggest challenge has been the shift in mindset away from working for a legislator and toward working for our private sector clients. The main difference I’ve found is that the audiences that the communications strategies are directed toward are totally different. While in my previous experience, the audience was the voting public in general, the work that CLS does is often for a far more targeted and niche audience.

What is your favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C.?

I love the feeling that things are happening around me. I’ve spent most of my life in a small town where nothing ever happens so I’m really enjoying that change of scenery. All of the activity combined with the history of the city make for a unique experience that I’m doing my best to soak in.

On our website we ask all of our staff to share three things about themselves. What are three things about yourself that we might not know?

  1. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and a proud member of Ravenclaw House.
  2. I once waited 12 hours, overnight, in the rain to get tickets to SNL.
  3. My three favorite TV shows are: The Office, Breaking Bad, and Bojack Horseman.
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