Internships helped this Mason grad hone in on her career goals


Aloana Hall knew she wanted to study and practice law. She also knew she did not want to work in juvenile defense because, as she thought, “It’s going to be so emotionally taxing.”

headshot of Aloana Hall
University Scholar Aloana Hall. Photo by Creative Services

But after her experience as a legal intern at the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, the government and international politics major at George Mason University changed her mind. Yes, working with juveniles was emotional, as she feared. “But it also is so rewarding,” she said, “and so I feel like I’m doing something good.”

Hall, a member of the Honors College and a University Scholar, added to her résumé with an internship at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Her Honors College research project, examining the drought and climate change in the West, was an eye-opener as well.

“I know a bit about climate change and rising sea levels because I’m from Virginia Beach, and it’s a problem,” Hall said. “It’s so strange the idea of not enough water in the West, and I’m worrying about too much water.”

What is your best memory of Mason?
One of my favorite memories from my time at Mason is the Spring 2022 Homecoming. Despite being in the middle of winter, it was a beautiful, warm day. I usually do not stay outside much during the winter, but I participated in the outdoor tailgate. It was great to see so many people showing school spirit and see some of my older friends who returned as alumni.  

How have you grown while at Mason?
I have grown by challenging myself. I pushed myself to stay engaged and take on leadership positions in various organizations on campus. I also pushed myself to apply for internships, fellowships, and jobs despite feeling inadequate and underqualified. I have grown into someone who is not afraid to go outside their comfort zone and fail at times.  

What is your best piece of advice for incoming students?
I encourage incoming students to not let their college years pass them by. Most people are in college for only a few years. So, do not let great memories, relationships, and opportunities get away from you. Reach out to professors who are researching what you are interested in, start a conversation with the person sitting beside you in class, and go to the club-interest meeting even though you do not know anyone. It is easy to keep your head down, but try to push yourself. 

What’s next for you?
I am in the process of applying to law school for fall 2023.