By Thomas Tai, NYU Shanghai, Class of 2022
My name is Thomas Tai, and I am a Computer Science and Interactive Media Arts student at New York University Shanghai. I grew up in the quiet suburbs of New Jersey, and decided that I wanted to take my education to the other side of the world. As an international student in China, there were not as many opportunities to work for companies located in the United States.
Last year, I heard about the Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) program through alumni on Facebook and decided to apply. I selected three projects that interested me, including a Web Content Management position at the US Department of Veterans Affairs that I was accepted into. I was very excited to learn more about the government and have the opportunity to work on projects benefiting veterans.
Although the VSFS program is unpaid, you have the opportunity to work on projects that make an impact while gaining teamwork and technical skills. You can work from anywhere in the world and have a flexible schedule since tasks can be done remotely and asynchronously. Another benefit is that it only requires a commitment of ten hours a week so you can take classes and have a life outside of work.
My role as a Web Content Management Intern is to produce web-based content for interns and individuals interested in the Veterans Affairs. To my surprise, I was promoted to a leadership position as a Division Officer, where I am responsible for overseeing some of the projects that our team is working on. Every week, I make sure that our blog posts, web pages and web stories are ready for publishing. This internship has allowed me to learn more about web development, management, and accessibility.
Currently, I am working on a job description for a Web UI/UX design position and creating a plan for the new department. I also picked up a project to launch the new website for a national leadership program for the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service that aims to mentor student volunteers. With a team of approximately 300 students, there is always something to work on and opportunities to connect with others.
During the past few months, I had the opportunity to employ the skills that I learned at school. This internship has been an amazing opportunity to connect with talented students and understand the intimate workings of a large government agency. The team is always looking for creative and hardworking interns to join the team. I encourage anyone interested to apply – there is a position for everybody! In addition to roles in the Web Department, there are also openings in Social Media, Writing, and more. There is no expectation that you know everything, only that you are willing to learn.
Apply online in July 2021 at https://vsfs.state.gov/