I spent my post-1L summer interning full-time at the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General (NSF OIG), Office of Investigations. Most federal agencies have an Inspector General’s Office and the job of the Inspector General (IG) is to provide oversight to the agency and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse of their resources. For the Office of Investigation at NSF OIG, that means ensuring that taxpayer money, allocated to scientific projects through grants, is used for its actual purpose, not for different scientific work or for personal gain. It also means ensuring scientists do not commit research misconduct or plagiarize their work. When the OIG discovers abuse of NSF resources, the IG can recommend internal actions against the perpetrator or refer the case to Assistant United States Attorneys for civil or criminal prosecution.
My work for the office involved subpoena production review, research, memorandum writing, and cite checking. I wrote several intra-office memoranda, including one which evaluated the potential success of criminal charges against an individual involved in a white collar investigation. I discovered information in a subpoena production review which I briefed to FBI agents. Throughout the summer, I sat in on witness interviews and conducted research projects for attorneys in the office, which assisted them in deciding how to pursue their investigations.
I loved my summer at NSF OIG. I got to learn a lot about the investigatory process and the work that is done to protect taxpayer money. It would not have been possible for me to do this internship without the SPIL Stipend. I am paying my own way through law school and I would not have been able to afford to spend an entire summer not working for pay. I am incredibly glad I was able to work in an exciting and challenging internship where I was able to learn a great deal about investigations and work in a public interest placement, without having to sacrifice my financial well-being to do so.