Georgia County Internship Spotlight
Dystinee Barris Interns with Augusta-Richmond County
Dystinee Barris, a graduate of New Mexico State University, interned with Augusta-Richmond County during the summer of 2021. Barris majored in Finance and worked as a Management Fellow in the Administrator’s Office.
Barris’ primary focus throughout college was finance and financial planning, so she entered the internship with little prior knowledge of county government operations. However, Barris quickly learned the ins and outs of county government, from budgeting processes and the role of commissioners to the value of community engagement and building relationships with elected officials.
Barris' responsibilities varied, though she conducted significant research in economic development, performance measurement, and budgeting. She considers one of her biggest successes to be a presentation on improved performance measurement strategies.
During her internship, Barris attended county events such as the budget retreat and assisted in the development of projects including newsletters and presentation templates. Through such work, Barris grew more confident in her independent work and her ability to communicate and express her ideas. She said that a sense of workplace confidence was a long-lasting impact of the internship. "I was given immense support in an environment encouraging the research, development, and presentation of ideas that could potentially make big changes in the community…I am now confident in my ability to work alongside leadership and create those positive changes,” Barris remarked.
Following her internship, Barris was hired as an administrative coordinator for Augusta-Richmond County. She said that her internship helped her develop and refine many skills that she went on to use as a full-time employee. Her experiences with policy research and communication were especially crucial, and she stated that her time “as an intern was necessary to excel” while she worked full-time for the county.
Barris noted that the people and work community were one of her favorite parts of the internship experience. Barris said she was honored to have gained mentorship from county staff during her tenure. She encourages other students considering the GCIP to take advantage of being surrounded by knowledgeable individuals and to “jump into talking to as many people” as they can.
To learn more about the GCIP, please visit our website at www.accg.org/caf_index.php.