Who hasn't dreamt of meeting an astronaut as a child? For 3L and Miami Scholar Linet Suarez, that dream became a reality this summer while working at her internship with NASA’s Office of the General Counsel. Suarez was not only able to hear astronauts speak publicly, but she was also able to attend meetings as they prepared to testify at a congressional hearing. “It is so hard to talk about meeting the astronauts without stars in your eyes. They are heroic, and it has been amazing to listen to their experiences. It is like an action movie come to life.”
As the only intern this summer in the General Law Practice Group of 12 attorneys, Suarez kept busy and gained a wide range of experience. “I was able to work on so many different practice areas including ethics, environmental law, employment law, and property. You would never think that NASA had so many different legal issues come up,” said Suarez. Suarez had the opportunity to do more legal research and writing this summer than she did during the first two years of law school combined.
Suarez also gained experience outside of the office, attending a variety of meetings, legal forums, and congressional hearings. For example, she attended a hearing for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology where NASA’s proposed new legislation for comprehensive occupational astronaut healthcare was discussed.
“NASA’s steadfast commitment to take care of their astronauts was incredible to witness,” said Suarez.
Suarez chose to spend her summer working at NASA to fulfill her goal of working for a federal government agency. The more time Suarez spent researching the agency, the more she fell in love with it. Suarez especially liked NASA’s focus on diversity outreach programs. “Based on how they presented the information, I could tell that NASA did not just talk about the importance of diversity, but they meant it. As a Latina, it is so important to me that I am not the only woman or Latin in the room.”
NASA’s commitment to diversity and work-life balance showed through in the work environment. “NASA was such a great place to work—my colleagues were always so fun and happy. You don’t always see that in the workplace,” said Suarez.
Suarez reported that there were two things at Miami Law that best prepared her for this internship. The first was taking an administrative law course with Professor Michael Froomkin. “I have never been so happy to have taken a class as it was even helpful in the interview process for this internship,” said Suarez. Second, Suarez found participating in the Miami Scholars program to be essential to learning the “public service language.” “I found myself having a lot of the same conversations this summer that we had during the school year through the Miami Scholars program which allowed for a smooth transition to the workplace,” said Suarez.
Suarez also enjoyed spending the summer in Washington D.C. and made time to explore the city. Her supervisors made sure that she saw the sights. As NASA’s office is located near the National Mall, Suarez frequently walked by the U.S. Capitol and other national monuments. She even lived right next to a Smithsonian museum and could easily stop by on the way home from work.
Although Suarez always knew she wanted a career in public service, her internship this summer confirmed her desire to work for the federal government. “I was academically and intellectually challenged, loved what I did, and loved my colleagues,” said Suarez.