From intern to manager: One SAO employee’s career path shows support for growth

Dec 5, 2023

SAO employee Haji Adams

Haji Adams first learned about the Office of the Washington State Auditor and its paid internship program while attending Western Washington University. “My mom worked in the Insurance Building (in Olympia) where SAO also has an office, so she told me about it,” he said.

He applied, was accepted, and soon was interning for one of our local audit and whistleblower teams.

Haji was happy to learn he’d be working alongside full-time auditors, as well as a mentor, processing actual auditing cases. “You’re not just given a project and asked to sit in a corner,” he said. “You’re actually with a group of individuals, working diligently on the same projects, asking lots of questions and figuring things out.”

“You get one-on-one time with your Auditor in Charge (mentor) plus other individuals that are working on the audit so you never feel like you’re alone,“ he said. “You’re well supported.”

Haji became a full-time SAO employee when his internship ended after graduation. He started as an entry-level Assistant State Auditor, advanced over the years, and today is the Audit Manager for Team North King County where he oversees a staff of more than a dozen people – plus an intern, of course.

Haji celebrated his 14th work anniversary earlier this year, and summarizes the SAO internship as invaluable “on-the-job training where you’re constantly learning.” He encourages current college students to apply not only for the work experience, but for the workplace experience. “Everybody’s invested in your growth at the State Auditor’s Office,” he said. “Everyone wants to see you be successful. Everybody’s rooting for you.”

Paid Internships at SAO

SAO offers paid internship opportunities for college students who have completed their sophomore year. Working alongside a mentor, audit interns provide work and support for actual audit clients. As interns grow their skills, they take on assignments with increased complexity and responsibility.

We look for candidates who have strong computer skills, exhibit excellent written and verbal communication, and have completed some accounting course work. We currently have 18 interns on staff, and over the past five years more than 60 interns have assumed full-time jobs with our Office.