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The IWP Internship Experience: Alison Ockasi

Alison 444x718I can honestly say that my internship at IWP was the perfect introduction to living and working in Washington, D.C. Since this was my first internship, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, my original expectations have been greatly exceeded. When I arrived, I was told that IWP does not have a typical working environment, but rather that the staff is like family. I can now say that this is true, and that I have experienced what all work environments should really be like. I appreciate and am thankful for all that each of the staff members were willing to do to make us feel comfortable here, and the positivity that they exude daily.

Beyond my shifts working in the library and the Skybox (as we call the office that works on IWP events, communications, alumni relations, and development), I was assigned as a research assistant to Dr. Bradley, who is currently the Vice President of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. The research I conducted focused on Dr. Bradley’s book that she is currently working on about the political economy of al-Qaeda post-9/11. This topic is directly in line with my career aspirations in the national security field, and thus has proved to be an invaluable experience.

I also audited Dr. Bradley’s course this summer, entitled Economics for Foreign Policy Makers. This course was a great experience for me because I had never taken an economics course before. That said, the class was perfect for me because it focused on overarching economic theories. Exposure to these theories has expanded the way I think about the world around me. I find that I am much more aware of economic activity, and also better able to understand it.

Another enriching part of working at IWP was that I was able to attend various special events and lectures that the Institute hosts weekly. This included lectures by distinguished IWP professors, and also guests that the Institute welcomed to discuss topics in which they specialize. Additionally, I was able to attend a tour of Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. The tour of the Pentagon was one of the best experiences I had all summer, as we got to visit places that most people will never see, including the famous press room. All of these are experiences that I could not have had anywhere else.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to intern at IWP this summer, as it has given me experiences that have already proven instrumental to my personal and professional development. I look forward to applying all that I have learned during my time here at IWP to future experiences as I move forward with my career.