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The IWP Internship Experience: Taralyn Thrasher

Taralyn ThrasherFor the summer, I was able to work under Michelle Watson, Vice President for Corporate Relations for IWP and program manager for the Cyber Intelligence Initiative (CII). The program had just officially launched a week before I arrived, so I was able to help build it for future students and interns.

I researched current news events related to anything cyber such as: cyber attacks, cyber threats, cyber warfare, research and development, businesses and organizations related to cyber, hardware and software, and any potential solutions to the problems we have facing cyberspace today.

In addition to that, I wrote two articles. One addressed the lack of a universal definition for the commonly used term “cyber intelligence”, and the second compared the motivation and techniques between Chinese and Russian cyber attacks. Most of my research was done with the purpose of building the new CII website by publishing different articles and information.

In addition to my research, I also was able to work a library shift and an office shift once a week. The library shift involved organizing and editing files and articles on a flashdrive for one of the professors. All of the articles pertained to cyber, internet, or virus related events. The office shift involved data entry, event planning, article writing, and assisting with any tasks around the building. I also worked many of the events hosted at IWP doing setup, registration, and cleanup. Attending events provided a means to learn more about a topic and then network with experts or people interested in that field.

As an intern, I got to select a class to audit for the summer semester, so I choose to attend Professor Schilling’s Intelligence and the Law. Going into the class, I had practically no knowledge of intelligence or law, but thankfully, the class started on a basic level and built from that. The first half of the semester worked chronologically through important events involving intelligence and law. The end of the semester was more topical, involving, but not limited to, intelligence agencies’ duties, cyber law, the Espionage Act of 1917, and the trial involving Hillary Clinton and Director Comey. To increase our educational experience, IWP also provided the interns the opportunity to have lecture lunches with different professors and John Lenczowski, the founder and president of the school.

Although the internship was only for a short time, I gained a lot of experience and knowledge that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere. It is a great opportunity to research more about your field of interest, network with experts that you never thought you would have the opportunity to meet, and most importantly, have fun with the amazing staff and fellow interns.