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The IWP Internship Experience: Greg Willey

Greg Willey 444x718In searching for an internship in Washington, D.C., I knew I was looking for a few key traits that could guarantee a valuable, worthwhile experience. I was certain of my passion for national security, of my desire to be challenged, and of the urgent significance of the semester, as I knew I would be graduating at the end in December.

Having researched The Institute of World Politics in preparation for my interview, my initial thought was honestly that I had found the Hogwarts for national security, as the Institute made available everything I could have dreamed of for my first internship in D.C., and then some. I was fortunate enough to be offered the internship at the Institute, and immediately within the first few days, I realized how lucky I was.

With the fascinating history of the Marlatt Mansion, the devoted scholar-practitioners with their intimidating yet inspiring practical experience, the cheery and welcoming staff, and the Institute’s ever important mission, I found that the IWP truly epitomizes the highest standard of national security education and prepares leaders for success in the fields of intelligence and national security.

I was assigned to work with IWP Executive Vice President Noah Rudolph. I conducted research throughout the semester for Mr. Rudolph and developed a ton in regards to my research skills and understanding of analytics. Skill development aside, though, the support and advocacy Mr. Rudolph was able to provide for me was something I have never experienced before. Meeting with him once a week, he would always prefer to talk about my aspirations of service in the Marine Corps or the intelligence community, being a former Marine himself. I don’t believe I would have received the same valuable advice and encouragement anywhere besides the Institute.

I also learned towards the beginning of the internship that the resources and scholar-practitioners at IWP are incredibly unique. Interns have the privilege of sitting down for casual lunch lectures with IWP professors, who are experts in their respective fields of strategic intelligence, military strategy, and statecraft, among many others. Trying to take advantage of the resources IWP allows its interns, I was able to conduct research for Dr. James Carafano and Dr. David Glancy as well. Researching military history and theory, economic warfare, propaganda, and other fascinating topics, I learned more than I could have ever imagined from some of the leading national experts in these fields. These renowned scholars make an investment in their research assistants and offer unparalleled career advice and professional guidance.

I was also permitted to audit a graduate class as an intern. The Enemy Threat Doctrine of Global Jihadism was one of the most profoundly insightful and eye-opening classes I have ever taken. My initial apprehension aside, being my first graduate course among some truly impressive graduate students and professionals, our professor was able to equip us with the necessary contextual background of Islam and also current jihadi texts in order to help us craft a policy prescription to the existing global jihadi threat. His students moved forward with a greater understanding not only of jihadism, but also of military strategy, national security policy making, and terrorism in general.

In addition, interns at IWP have the special ability to go on site-visits throughout Washington, D.C. to investigate further the national security realm. Whether visiting the Pentagon, State Department, National Cryptologic Museum, or the Capitol building, our group of interns was able to explore the physical locations where the policy we study is decided, formulated, and implemented.

Utilizing experiential-learning, the IWP internship is truly comprehensive, and my experience here was transformative and fulfilling. I move forward with an expanded knowledge of the field of national security, a network of professional connections I would not have found elsewhere, and a new group a friends throughout the Institute, who will not only certainly move on to successful careers in their own right, but also remain close friends for years to come. In all honesty, I would not have wanted my first internship in D.C. to be anywhere else. I will move forward seeking my place for service within the national security arena with the Institute’s inspiring mission and lessons forever in mind.

-Greg Willey, Fall 2014