By Jackson Richman, (’12)

A couple years ago, on behalf of my school’s radio station I interviewed two Pulitzer Prize-winning writers: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Washington Post syndicated columnist and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer.

“Being located in the nation’s capital, my school is full of unique opportunities that happen rarely elsewhere. However, my desire for taking advantage of this atmosphere must be credited to what I gained at ICJA.”

Fast-forward to November 12, 2014. I was intensely interviewed the previous day for the internship program at the National Journalism Center (NJC), which places interns at prominent media outlets such as The Weekly Standard, Townhall.com, Washington Examiner, and The Daily Caller. I received a voice message from the director of NJC and called back. Upon answering why I should be part of the Spring 2015 class and be part of a program that’s trained well-respected media personalities such as Malcolm Gladwell and Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld, he responded, “You’re in.”

My internship experience through NJC, which placed me at The Weekly Standard, where I interned four days a week was an invaluable experience I wouldn’t have traded for the world (except to stay longer). From writing for The Crown Prints at ICJA and learning from Ms. Goldstein—whose journalism class I took sophomore year and fueled my journalistic passion—to interning at one of the most prominent national publications and learning from the best, such as executive editor Fred Barnes, this invaluable opportunity allowed me to get a few bylines, as well as infinite knowledge about the world on the outside literally and figuratively, including professionalism. It was a time when I realized the authenticity behind ICJA’s motto, “Building Bnei and Bnot Torah to Thrive in the Modern World.”

Though there are many memories from my time at The Weekly Standard, one of them was receiving a press pass to the AIPAC Policy Conference (where I ran into Ms. Sennett and her Ida Crown group) and meeting an inspiration of mine, the late Elie Wiesel, at a panel discussion along with Senator Ted Cruz moderated by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach titled “The Meaning of Never Again: Guarding Against a Nuclear Iran.” (I interviewed Rabbi Boteach for an article in New Voices Magazine, whose primary audience is Jewish college students).

Another memorable moment was the opportunity to go to the set of one of my favorite cable news shows, “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Fox News, and meet another inspiration of mine: Charles Krauthammer, who remembered my interview from the previous year.

Finally, in May 2015 I met the managing editor of Foreign Policy and ICJA alumnus Yochi Dreazen (also a guest panelist on Special Report) at his office, and he gave me tremendous career advice along with a couple Ida Crown memories.

Today, I constantly contribute to Red Alert Politics, American Action News, and New Voices Magazine. I covered the 2016 AIPAC Policy Conference on behalf of American Action News, and even saw the Ida Crown delegation again! Having lunch with them, I gave them this important piece of advice that should be taken to heart by everyone: wherever you go in life, writing well is crucial.

Fast-forward to May 2016: As an intern at The Daily Caller (known as “the right-wing version of The Huffington Post”) from May 9 to the 31, I published 16 articles on issues ranging from Israel to the 2016 Presidential Election. Since June 1 I’ve been on Capitol Hill interning for Illinois representative Adam Kinzinger, who is a staunch supporter of Israel.

This update is proof that “ICJA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has a lasting impact.”

Jackson is entering his fourth year at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., majoring in Political Science. Follow Jackson on Twitter: @jacksonrichman