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The IWP Internship Experience: McKenzie Wilson

McKenzie Wilson 444x718The Institute of World Politics is an incredible institution that embodies everything a national security graduate program should. Majoring in Intelligence and National Security, the subject is something that I am very passionate about, and love to research. When I first began searching for an internship in Washington D.C., I had only heard of The Institute of World Politics through professors at school. On a trip to Washington with the Society For Intelligence and National Security club at my school, we attended a briefing at IWP. The next day when we returned to Pittsburgh, I began the application process for the internship program, and have never been so pleased with a decision that I have made.

This was my first internship, so I expected the typical run of the mill making coffee, faxing papers, and running around taking everyone’s lunch order. While each Wednesday morning, I did have my turn making coffee, this internship provided so much more than that. I had the privilege of getting assigned to Derrick Dortch for my research projects, and there was never a dull moment. From writing Terrorist Organization Profiles, to Daily Terrorism Activity Reports, the research was consistent, bountiful, and above all, helpful. Monitoring terrorist activity each day and writing reports on attacks as they happened only made my desire to pursue a career in the counterterrorism field grow. Having the opportunity to conduct research, analyze the intelligence, and report it in real time is incredibly beneficial. Nothing makes the experience feel more real than getting an email from Mr. Dortch at 3 or 4 in the morning telling you to monitor a situation or get a report going on an attack that just took place. Experiences like this made the internship valuable beyond measure.

John Sano with summer 2016 interns 444x718While interning at IWP, each intern is given the opportunity to audit a class offered by in the Institute. I chose to take Military Intelligence and Modern Warfare taught by Dr. Lew. This course provided insight into what the world of defense intelligence is like through the firsthand experiences of Dr. Lew and other students in the class. I was very impressed by the amount of knowledge and experience in the room, and I feel as though this is part of the unique experience that The Institute of World Politics strives to offer its students.

In addition to the valuable research experiences that I gained, the interest that IWP takes in helping prepare you for your future career is truly amazing. The attention that got put into perfecting my resume, cover letter, and creating a portfolio of sample writing pieces and reports was immensely helpful. The connections that are made, and the helpfulness of everyone who works here is unlike anywhere else.

Though my time at IWP was brief, it was a quality experience, and one that I will never forget or take for granted. It is really nice to see how dedicated the faculty, compromised of ex-CIA officers, DIA analysts, and attachés, just to name a few, are to teaching and molding the next generation of the national security and intelligence community. Everyone who works at The Institute of World Politics is committed to the institution and the success of each and every person there. I could not have dreamed of a better internship experience.