The IWP Internship Experience: Nicole Pope

May 2, 2017  |  ARTICLES

Nicole PopeThe Institute of World Politics internship program is the most underrated, and best kept secret in the DMV area. Everyone in the District is searching for the "perfect internship experience." Typically, that means an internship on the Hill, working for a member of Congress, but I knew I wanted something different. Little did I know, I was about to experience the complete other end of the spectrum. At a career fair at my undergraduate university, The Catholic University of America, I met with Jessica Boone and immediately recognized her passion for the school.  Her enthusiasm combined with the IWP's emphasis on ethical policy making resonated with me.

During my time at the IWP, I found a team of faculty, staff, mentors, and fellow interns that motivated and encouraged me to accomplish things I never believed I would be able to.  What puts the IWP head and shoulders above most internship programs is the level of responsibility they give to interns.  Every intern is given a research project that relates to their own interests and studies in the classroom.  I worked with Dr. Daniels, the Chair of Law & Human Rights and Founder of the Center for Human Rights and International Affairs at the IWP.  My colleagues and I used our research to create YouTube content for Good of All, which aims to educate others about universal human rights. This directly corresponded to my interest in international law and reporting on human rights abuses.

When I was not doing research, answering phones, or greeting our guests at the front desk of the Marlatt Mansion, you could find me in the Skybox, our version of a communications department (aka IWP's campaign office).  Here, I was able to gain invaluable experience in all aspects of event planning, from budgeting, to logistics, to putting on the actual event and writing press releases about it. I was able to assist in registration and set up for our numerous weekly lectures, plan a catering budget for the Capitol Hill Speaker Series, secure a venue for one of our alumni events, and create the Commencement Weekend itinerary for our graduates and their families. I gained an understanding of how to run an event that requires a high level of security and professionalism that I likely would not have gained elsewhere.

One thing is for certain: the IWP will open doors for you if you are willing to take advantage of its opportunities. Because the IWP is an organization affiliated with so many well connected professionals in the field of national security, foreign policy, and statecraft, I had the pleasure of volunteering at The White House Spring Garden Tour towards the end of my internship.  The many round-table discussions and lectures I was able to listen in on during the course of the internship prepared me to advocate for the continued funding of the United Nations in 2018. With a developed and comprehensive understanding of international relations, I was able to incorporate what I had learned at The IWP in my lobbying sessions for the United Nations Association.

For the past four months, the IWP has been my home away from home.  As a freshman in college living on my own for the first time, I sometimes found myself a little lost in DC.  However, The Institute of World Politics opened its doors and arms to me and I could not be more grateful for that.  Working alongside the accomplished and supportive staff that are a trademark of the IWP has greatly contributed not only to my professional growth, but my personal growth as well.  I know I will find myself coming back to visit frequently over my next three years living here, and am sure that any prospective interns will come away feeling the same!