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My Experience at IWP – by Nolan Napier, Intern

Nolan Napier, Intern Summer 2013As a college junior going into my second semester, early in the year I realized I had to start planning for my future career. I decided to intern somewhere, preferably an organization that was politically oriented, so that I could gain some idea of my future course of action.

A fellow student of mine from Thomas Aquinas College recommended to me that I apply for a summer internship at The Institute of World Politics. She had never interned at the Institute but nonetheless insisted that this internship would be a very good experience. Thanks to her advice, I applied and was accepted into the summer internship program.

I had no idea what to expect from this internship, but my friend was correct: it was a great experience. The program was filled with guest speakers and eye-opening trips to the Holocaust and Laogai museums. These events enkindled in me a desire to take part in world politics and international affairs. Previously I had been more concerned with domestic issues, and paid less attention to the actions of other countries, as well as to the foreign actions of America. By the end of the summer, I realized that I had been naïve. Domestic issues are important, but with a global economy and two past world wars, foreign issues cannot be ignored.

I will never forget the first lecture that was given to us interns. It was given by IWP President John Lenczowski, and during the course of it he covered the Bolshevik Trust Operation. In the 1920s, the Bolsheviks deceived all of Europe by making a false opposition group.  They used this group to discover dissenters inside the Bolshevik camp as well as those left in the country. This operation blew my mind, and I became hooked on intelligence.

After the lecture, I had the privilege of signing up for a graduate level class during my stay as an intern. I decided to take “Intelligence in the Cold War and Beyond” taught by Dr. Thomas, as I was fascinated by intelligence. The class covered the beginning of the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, China and more. It changed my understanding of how countries act, as well as how America acted in the past.

As a student currently pursuing a BA in the Liberal Arts, this class was a change for me. Personally, I loved it. I found that this class complemented the philosophy that I love studying at Thomas Aquinas College, especially in the case of ethics as well as in concepts of government. My study of intelligence in the Cold War put a lot of my personal philosophy to the test. The most immediate consequence I faced was how I was too much of an idealist in some scenarios. This class put me in the real world when previously I had in some cases been in a world of abstractions. I am indebted to the knowledge I have gained concerning human nature from my study of the Cold War and its conflicts.

In addition to the class and the guest speakers, I enjoyed those with whom I worked, particularly my fellow intern Sierra as well as my bosses Travis and Tricia. There were other interns and students who were also a pleasure to be with. Last but not least the faculty at IWP is excellent. As examples I cite of course President John Lenczowski, but also Dr. Chris Harmon who I am thankful to have met during my internship. The school examines subjects of a serious nature, while bearing a professional atmosphere. I am grateful to have spent my summer at IWP in Washington, D.C., and to all who may be interested in interning or enrolling, I highly recommend it.

Nolan Napier
IWP Intern, Summer 2013