Name: Terronda LaBoo
Major: Public Administration
Company Name: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
What skills do you have that gave you an advantage in securing this internship?
UB prepared me for real-work projects given during the CMS internship through the required core classes and electives. Each class project and lecture equipped me with the skills needed to competitively compete with other applicants.
What are the steps you took to land your internship?
I applied to CMS through the UB Works website, created a federal resume through USAjobs.com and consistently met with my career counselor, Malka Weintraub to fine tune my resume, cover letter and elevator pitch. Needless to say, I attended every career workshop offered at UB.
What did you do as an intern at the company you worked at?
As an intern at CMS during Summer 2014, I was a Human Resources Assistant. Major projects included:
•Initiated and performed a quality and compliance program audit to ensure CMS male employees are registered in the Selective Service. Responsibilities include:
Gathering and organizing information and procedures related to the review;
Analyzing the data gathered and developing solutions or alternative methods of proceeding if a data conflict is found; and
Ensuring files are protected and in compliance with program requirements;
•Assisted in the development and/or review human resource (HR) documents such as employee newsletters, in-service training slides, Human Resource Manuals (HRMs) on specific HR topics.
•Reviewed, interpreted and analyzed local and regulatory guidance, policies and procedures on specific HR topics.
•Prepared segments of information for inclusion into routine policies, guidelines, instructions or procedures.
•Attended meetings and conference calls and prepared written correspondence or notes for senior management’s use.
•Compiled data and prepared status reports for review at all levels of management.
•Displayed high level of effort and commitment towards performing work; demonstrated responsible behavior.
•Attended a three day Human Capital Assessment &Accountability Framework (HCAAF) training course to analyze and conduct a productive HR evaluation through real agency scenarios. Human Capital Assessments are performed to ensure compliance, efficiency, effectiveness and mission alliance of the agency.
•Attended a five day Principles of Classification training course to learn the skills required to review, evaluate and analyze an agency’s position descriptions. This course utilized group interacted oral and written presentations regarding Personnel Management’s (OPMs) federal classification standards.
•Acted as point of contact to greet and sign in the instructor for the Principles of Classification training; assisted in computer sign in access and loading the PowerPoint training slides.
•Helped in the facilitation of three sessions of mandatory Hiring Reform training conducted for CMS supervisors and managers. Attended planning meetings and provided input on the project tasks and overall coordination effort, served as student greeter, and helped orchestrate the question and answer sessions.
•Served as the divisional representative for component summer picnic. I was responsible for the marketing of the picnic, providing updates, collecting money and monitoring ticket sales.
During Summer 2015, I worked for CMS in the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality Division as an Operations Specialist Intern. My duties included:
:•Assistant to the Lead Staff Management Support Group Contact and provide responsive service to internal/external customers that support customer program requirements.
•Performed, planned and assisted with development of operational duties among the Medicare programs including submission of National Quality Reporting comments for MIPS (Merit Based Incentives Payment Systems) and contributing team member of the LEAN Onboarding Staff Satisfaction project for DQM.
•Participated in the monthly planning and brainstorming with the QMVIG (Quality Measurement Value-based Incentives Group) Stakeholder Engagement Sub-Group, an educational outreach subgroup dedicated to providing a more efficient way of providing Medicare information to its stakeholders.
•Provided a pleasant atmosphere in a fast paced highly stressful environment by assisting staff as needed to include scheduling, onboarding of new employees and completing training and travel documents in a timely and efficient manner.
•Through the examination of roles and responsibilities, developed an informational one-pager briefing paper regarding the scope of CCSQ, DQM and the Quality Measurement & Value-based Incentives Group (QMVIG) to be submitted to senior management.
•Coordinated, organized and prepared meetings for both internal staff and senior leadership. Draft agendas, take meeting notes and circulate for staff coordination and records, submit materials and reports to include staff reminders, due dates and deadlines of important projects and assignments.
•Shared responsibility as the Division’s Share Point contact with responsibility for editing changes and updates to the DQM Share Point site in a timely and responsive manner.
•Analyzed and amended, as required, 14-point COR (Contract Officer Representative) memoranda for approval; developed a written internal SOP for the 14-point COR RFC (Request for Change) to assist with training for the procurement process.
•Developed a Power Point presentation template to assist the procurement process facilitator in training the DQM team for CAMS requisitions.
•Created, coordinated and organized correspondences for distribution on Share Point.
•Ensured that files on Share Point are kept orderly, accessible and retrievable by all parties.
•Utilized Microsoft Web-Ex in Microsoft Outlook to schedule calendar appointments, teleconferences and reserve meeting room.
•Served as escort to visitors.
What did you enjoy about your internship?
I enjoyed the ability to work in many different divisions on the main campus at CMS. It afforded the opportunity to acquire various certifications as an intern that worked out for me in the end because not only did I graduate with a Master’s of Public Administration/Policy December 2015 but I was in addition offered a full-time permanent position as an HR Specialist at CMS.
What was challenging about your internship?
The most challenging time of my two summer tours as an intern was when I didn’t get extended to continue as a paid Pathways Honors Intern after the Summer 2014 tour ended due to the lack of FTE (full-time employment funding). If there’s no FTE in government, a full-time offer can’t be made. It was then that I conceded to continuing as an unpaid intern for six months until the next summer paid internship as a Pathways Honors Intern in order to retain my clearance and gain more governmental work experience. Because I have been self-employed as a beauty salon owner and Sr. Cosmetologist for many years, I had to compete with applicants who had either private sector or previous governmental experience in health care. It was very challenging! How do you compete with experience versus no experience? However, with perseverance and hard work to maintain a superior academic GPA on a full-time class schedule, working full-time, balancing my family and religious obligations, I brought to the table what many strive to have; the synergy of both maturity, excellent work ethics, integrity, excellent time management and the ability to peaceably network with all personalities and people from my peers to upper management. It has been a humbling and rewarding experience.