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The IWP Internship Experience: Robert Lee

Robert Lee 444x718When I hear my fellow peers that work at Capitol Hill (or “Hillterns”) discuss their internship experience, I am very grateful to have spent my summer internship at The Institute of World Politics. Instead of being sent to grab coffee constantly or sitting at a desk looking at social media with nothing to do, I found myself with something new and exciting to do every week at IWP. One week you may find yourself working an event at the Library of Congress, and another you may find yourself standing on the podium in the Pentagon’s Press Room.

As a research assistant for Dr. David Glancy, I performed research on strategic non-violent and radical movements. I did not know very much about this topic to begin with, but I found this subject matter so interesting that I am now trying to apply it to real-world issues today in the Middle East by drafting a mock policy.

While most of my time was spent doing research for Dr. Glancy, I also did a little marketing research for the Institute’s Executive Vice President, Noah Rudolph. Both of these men took time out of their day to meet with me and discuss my career aspirations and how I may go about reaching them. Interns will find that this is common throughout the Institute, as everyone, no matter what they accomplished in their past or how successful they were, is always willing to help and pass along their knowledge.

Robert LeeHowever, this internship provides what you put into it. If one takes advantage of the resources and faculty at their disposal, the internship will greatly work in their favor. If there is one thing that people in D.C. will continuously preach to you, it’s that networking is an absolute must. And what better place to network than The Institute of World Politics, where all of the professors are, or were, scholar-practitioners in their fields and where the graduate students are our future intelligence analysts, policy makers, and diplomats.

Another aspect of the internship that is unique to IWP is the class the interns are able to audit for free. Being an undergraduate student and being able to audit a graduate-level course such as “U.S. Intelligence in the Cold War and Beyond” taught by former DIA intelligence analyst Dr. David Thomas is a great learning (and networking) opportunity.

Being an intern at a smaller-sized school means that what you do actually does make a difference. Even if you are tasked with a small assignment, it is always a task that helps keep the figurative gears moving. Whether it’s occasionally answering phones or assisting in the library, the interns at IWP really do matter to the school. As mentioned before, the more you put in and the more you volunteer, the more you will be rewarded with great experiences, knowledge, and opportunities alongside some of the highest caliber people in their respective fields.

So, instead of fetching coffee for some staff on the Hill, I would advise anyone conflicted about where they want to spend their D.C. internship to look no further than The Institute of World Politics.