When Carolina senior Purshotam Aruwani started his policy and strategic planning summer internship in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS), he expected to have a traditional desk job, sitting at a computer all day. Instead, he found himself meeting with folks all over downtown Raleigh, touring a county jail and presenting his own research findings to supervisors and colleagues.
Aruwani, who is from Franklin, North Carolina, spent much of his summer gathering and reviewing public safety policy comparisons from other states. His work focused on identifying gaps in current DPS policies to anticipate future problems and design preemptive policy solutions.
“I’ve met with different people from various departments to get their feedback and worked to build policies that reflect their needs as well as the needs of the department,” he said. “I learned it’s a very lengthy process to start a policy from scratch.”
Mike Daniska, director of the DPS office of policy and strategic planning, supervised Aruwani during his internship. Daniska says he treated Aruwani more as a full-time employee than an intern—and that Aruwani was up for the challenge.
“We really threw him into a lot of the day-to-day stuff that any of us would be doing,” Daniska said. “Reviewing and providing feedback on policies, strategic planning, reaching out to stakeholders, building emergency evacuation planning stuff—he did a great job.”
Aruwani, a biology and political science double major, was excited to find that he could work on policies that directly impact people around the state. For example, one of his biggest projects was in the adult corrections agency.
“I’ve gotten to attend a lot of meetings relating to that specific field,” Aruwani said. “There’s a lot going on with revising the prison system, promoting activities that reduce (the) recidivism rate, finding organizations or other ways to help adjust back to life.”
Aruwani knows service will remain an important part of his senior year at Carolina: He’ll be the programming chair for the SMART mentoring program, a partnership between the Carolina Center for Public Service and Volunteers for Youth. Though he’s not certain of his career path, his tentative plan is to try out private-sector consulting for his first job and perhaps move into government work later.
“State government is something I’ve always been interested in, always wanted to become more involved in,” he said. “That level of experience, having room to grow in my professional understanding, getting to work with officials—it was all a new experience for me. These past few months have really set me up to work in this field later on.”
This N.C. Department of Public Safety APPLES summer internship was made possible through a partnership with the UNC Institute of Politics. CCPS is grateful to IOP and to DPS for their partnership!