From Operation Warfighter Intern to Defense Technical Information Center Employee


DTIC Team pictured with former OWF Intern Carolyn Fota. Featured in the picture from the back row (left to right) Michele Finley, Helen Sherman, Angela Davis, and James Fletcher. From the front row (left to right) Sandy Schwalb, Carolyn Fota, Howard Brande, and Phyllis Bell.

DTIC Team  with former OWF Intern Carolyn Fota. Back row, left to right, Michele Finley, Helen Sherman, Angela Davis, and James Fletcher. Front row, left to right, Sandy Schwalb, Carolyn Fota, Howard Brande, and Phyllis Bell.

Are you a wounded, ill or injured Service member looking to increase your career readiness and use your time productively while you recover? Consider participating in an Operation Warfighter internship! You can learn more at our next outreach event, June 21 at USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir. We’ll be there from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and we hope to see you there, too! If you can’t make it, but would still like more information about Federal internship opportunities, send an e-mail to warriorcare@osd.mil.

To get an idea of how an internship could help you during your recovery and rehabilitation, read the story of one of our interns below.

Lt. Col. (Ret) Carolyn E. Fota was progressing through her career when she was diagnosed with epilepsy, as the result of traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained while on a humanitarian deployment to Haiti. The career medical service officer also had to grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and being fitted for hearing aids due to hearing loss. Carolyn Fota’s medical condition required extensive care, treatment and rehabilitation which led to her assignment to the Fort Belvoir Warrior Transition Unit (WTU).

“My life and career took a huge turn in another direction and I thought any possibility for a career would not be open to me. Who would be interested in hiring someone with a history of TBI, PTSD and epilepsy?” Fota said. “But that’s when the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) rehabilitation staff & chain of command, Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC), and Diane Conant, Transition Coordinator, encouraged me to submit my resume to the Operation Warfighter Program.”

Operation Warfighter (OWF) is a Federal internship program for wounded, ill, and injured military service members. The main objective of Operation Warfighter is to place recovering service members in supportive work settings that positively impact their recuperation. The program represents a great opportunity for transitioning service members to augment their employment readiness by building their resumes, exploring employment interests, developing job skills, benefiting from on-the-job training opportunities, gaining work experience and building self-confidence.

“A lot of government organizations and agencies wanted me to intern with them,” Fota said. “I decided to intern with the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), at Ft. Belvoir.  Jim Fletcher, a DTIC Division Chief, took a lot of time reviewing my resume, interviewing and assigning me to the communications team under Michele Finley in November 2012.  The entire staff was outstanding.  I received training, professional coaching, opportunities to work on some great projects and assignment to a very supportive team. I made friends throughout the organization.”

Fota also explained that she gained confidence and was challenged to put into action what she learned from her extensive rehabilitative care.

“My goal is to live a very independent life and DTIC really helped me to develop my business, time management, and communication skills through weekly feedback from the communications team and DTIC leadership. I had a great internship experience at DTIC.  I submitted my resume when a program analyst position opened on the DTIC communications team and was hired April 2013.”

Today, Carolyn Fota works as a program analyst on the DTIC communications team.