Student Spotlight: Andrea Ocanas

Name: Andrea Ocanas

Major: Canfield BHP, Accounting (MPA)

Company: Dell

Position: Government Affairs Intern

Topics of Interest: Education, Social Impact, Entrepreneurship

From budgeting to working on government research to driving women’s empowerment initiatives, Andrea Ocanas had the opportunity to do it all this summer while interning at Dell. 

As a Government Affairs Intern, Andrea was not quite sure what to expect at first. Initially, she spent the majority of her time researching social issues that certain Representatives and Senators stand for. After working with her supervisors to increase her “business oriented” workload, Andrea was able to dive deeper into budgeting and social outreach initiatives. 

“Some of (Dell’s) main goals are focused on enhancing women entrepreneurship and STEM education,” Andrea said. “The government affairs team has worked to implement different programs across the country. The whole Dell team will go to (a city) and get people from that city to participate in social impact projects or events.”

One of the cities Dell is currently working with just so happens to be Las Cruces, New Mexico, which borders El Paso, Andrea’s hometown.

“The (initiative) in El Paso focused on women’s entrepreneurship and Dell hosted a competition and they got a team to brainstorm ideas that would help female entrepreneurs in the area start businesses,” Andrea said. “I got to go to meetings at the Mexican embassy to figure out how we would work with Mexico, New Mexico and then the edge of Texas to get resources towards the project.” 

Andrea said it was nice to work with an area she knew while still interning in Washington, D.C., a place she has always wanted to visit. She said she expected to do quite a bit of government-oriented work and welcomed all the learning opportunities that the internship presented.

“I think one of the main things I took out of the summer was that there’s a lot more to businesses than just accounting and finance,” Andrea said. “A lot of what is happening up there (in DC) really does affect businesses. It’s just harder to see from far away.” 

Despite the distance and familiarity of the program in general, Andrea said Canfield BHP prepared her well for the shift because of the diverse community the program offers. 

“A big thing I learned from being in BHP is just how to talk to different people. Being from El Paso was kind of different because, despite the fact that I’m a minority, I’ve been in the majority my whole life,” Andrea said. “All of my supervisors (in DC) varied on the political spectrum and a bunch of other factors. It was a small, but diverse team. CanfieldBHP taught me a lot about how to interact with different people and helped me stay comfortable going up to DC and being in that internship.” 

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