As a summer intern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Matthew Skinner ’17 will work under Mark Manis ’69, a senior policy adviser for the Foreign Agricultural Service at the USDA, researching domestic and international agricultural policy, investigating the climate change response plans of foreign countries and developing plans to help.
During winter break, Skinner met with Manis in Washington, D.C. to discuss the scope of the internship and the range of projects he will undertake this summer. In addition to the ways foreign countries address, mitigate and adapt to climate change from an agricultural standpoint, Skinner will explore the administrative side of the USDA, attending meetings and learning how the agency functions.
A philosophy major and physics and environmental studies double-minor, Skinner notes that he is “mathematically-minded” with an interest in “tangible effects — being able to research and comb through documents, the way I have through philosophy, and pick out the important points and make arguments based on that research and analysis.”
With long term goals of writing legislation or working in the judicial branch, Skinner was also in D.C. during winter break to participate in the 2016 Day on the Hill, where he “met alums, saw presentations on what they were doing in Washington and made a lot of connections.”
In addition the experience of working with environmental policy as it pertains to agriculture, the USDA internship will be “that first step into the city, to connect with alums I met during the Day on the Hill and use that knowledge and network going forward,” Skinner says.