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Excellent Interns - Virtual Intern Daman Wandke  

Photo of Daman Wandke
Background: My name is Daman Wandke, and I am a graduate student at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. I am working on my Masters in Business Administration and graduate in June 2013. I specialize in accessible information technology and I have a Bachelor?s degree in Management Information Systems. I combine my business, technical and accessibility knowledge to create and implement web accessibility strategies for various federal agencies and organizations.

Internship: I was an American Association of People with Disabilities-Microsoft intern in summer 2009 placed at USDA in Agricultural Marketing Service: Dairy Programs. I am from Washington State so I moved from one Washington to another, across the nation. While at USDA, I was involved in some large PDF accessibility projects, which taught me the inner workings of creating accessible PDF documents. USDA hired me at the end of the summer as a Virtual Intern where I continued to work remotely from my university.

As a Virtual Intern, I continued to develop both my technical and leadership skills. I worked on a wide range of projects for Dairy Programs related to accessibility and outreach. Every year, I made sure that our Report to Congress for our Research and Promotion programs was fully accessible to people with visual and learning disabilities. This required me to look at the technical aspects of every page to make sure a computer can read the document aloud. I have created a new method of converting Microsoft Publisher documents to accessible PDF documents, which I presented at the 2011 Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and was awarded second place in my category. I developed my skills as a virtual intern from fixing small PDF documents to creating and implementing strategies to ensure that documents others create are accessible. During my last year as a USDA Virtual Intern, I helped coordinate projects for the Virtual Internship Program overall and built a collaborative team environment with interns working across four time zones. I presented my research on February 24, 2012, at the Emerging Researchers National conference. To view my PowerPoint presentation, click here

New Endeavor: I recently accepted a position at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) where I am the Program Analyst for the agency?s Section 508 Compliance, working in their Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. I started this position in August 2012 and I am working virtually on their web accessibility strategies agency-wide. This new opportunity would not have been possible without the experience I gained as a Virtual Intern at USDA.

Working Virtually: Communication is critical in my job both at USDA and FHFA. Though I work from the other side of the country, I collaborate with employees in all aspects of my job. I create custom solutions based on the needs of co-workers in various departments and then try to apply the solution to other needs as well. I create strategies with input from a diverse array of stakeholders to ensure they will be as successful as possible. I use video conferencing and teleconference technologies to meet with co-workers and other stakeholders, allowing me to work like I am practically in the office. interns.

Please feel free to contact me via e-mail at

  Last Modified Date: 09/24/2012