Premier College Internship Program Symposium invests in tomorrow’s leaders

  • Published
  • By Zion Dillahunt
  • Air Force Materiel Command

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio--More than 260 college interns gained insight on the Air Force culture, mission and opportunities in the civilian service at the 2023 Premier College Internship Program Symposium in Dayton, Ohio, June 6-8.

The symposium hosted interns slated to work in fields such as civil engineering, logistics, intelligence, cyber and information, auditing, defense contracting and more. The theme of the event was, “Be Premier,” encouraging interns to continuously strive to be the best in every endeavor.  

“We’re glad that you have decided to come here to evaluate an opportunity with the Air Force because we need your incredible talents to lead innovation, as it will help us remain the best Air Force in the world,” said Lorna B. Estep, Executive Director, Air Force Materiel Command, during her welcome address to the interns at the event.

The PCIP gives students a 12-week paid experience in a civil service profession, as they work daily with experts and mentors to develop key capabilities and gain insight needed for future careers.

The goal of the program is to lead interns to pursue civil service opportunities after graduation, such as the Palace Acquire Program and permanent civilian employment.

Day one of the event focused on the Air Force as an institution. Interns learned about the courtesies and  organizational structure of the Air Force.

A briefing from Edwin Bujan, Chief, Force Renewal Programs, highlighted Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” strategy and emphasized the need for new ideas and innovation to advance against our pacing adversaries.

A mentoring session with Maj. Gen. Troy E. Dunn, Commander, Air Force Personnel Center, offered insight on how to succeed and how interns could address challenges in their careers.

“When you are faced with big problems, always remember that people matter and character matters. It’s the Air Force way,” said Dunn.

Day two of the event focused on the Air Force mission, with the goal of helping the interns to understand the role of civilians, Guardians and Airmen in national defense.

Interns visited the National Museum of the United States Air Force to talk with historians about the heritage and legacy of the service. Members of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center were also on site to talk about current projects related to the VC-25B and MQ-9A aircraft.

This was followed by a visit to the Air Force Research Laboratory to explore the missions and activities performed by 711th Human Performance Wing, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, and the Sensors Directorate.

The theme for the final day was career and focused on individual development.

Lt. Gen. Carl E. Schaefer, Deputy Commander, AFMC, initiated the final day with a mentoring session in which he advised interns to be leaders and urged them to motivate others to help the Air Force be innovative against our pacing adversaries.

“In the Air Force, we want inspirational leaders,” said Schaefer. “We want people that inspire people to come to work and execute the mission.”

Interns also had a chance to meet with a panel of senior leaders to ask questions and gain further insight on how to be successful in their careers.

The event concluded with the 2023 PCIP Olympics which gave interns a chance to have fun and socialize. Numerous events to create teambuilding and bonding took place such as a shot-put competition, Olympic trivia, cotton and spoon race, and marshmallow tower building.

Overall, the symposium allowed interns to network among the future leaders of the civilian service and better understand the opportunities awaiting them post-graduation.

“The PCIP program excites me because of the opportunities it provides for me to succeed,” said Elizabeth Londell, Logistics Intern, Auburn University at Montgomery. “It also allows me to see the Air Force at a larger scale.”

Learn more about the PCIP by visiting