Interning at the Institute of World Politics has been an incredible whirlwind of exciting events and incredible learning experiences. From staffing an event on the Hill, to meeting foreign dignitaries and generals, IWP afforded me so many opportunities that interns anywhere else would have never been afforded. Everyone I came into contact with was incredible and so encouraging, especially when it came to my rather different career goals. As an intern at the Institute, I had many responsibilities, including my research team, manning the front desk and the phones, and working with the Events Coordinator staff in the Skybox. All of these were equally important and expanded my skill set.
On Wednesdays, I worked my “phones” shift, in which my responsibilities were to welcome guests and answer and transfer outside calls. This is, honestly, my favorite part of the week. I love getting to interact with guests as well as professors and staff. I was able to make lasting relationships with people who have become mentors and references for future jobs! Through working the front desk I have had the opportunity to meet two ambassadors, as well as Dr. Lenczowski’s important guests.
By far, the best front desk story of meeting important people was actually my very first day at work. The day beforehand had been our intern orientation, where we had an extensive walk through of the protocol for the phones: how to politely answer the phone, how to transfer people, etc. I was anxious to do my job well, so I arrived early – a half an hour early. But it was perfect timing to be early. As soon as I sat down at the front desk, the phone rang. It was my very first call. And it was Dr. Lenczowski! He was calling to let me know that he was running a little late for his morning meeting with Gen. Odierno and if I wouldn’t mind letting the general in and getting him coffee. General Odierno is the former Army Chief of Staff and, as a student of American military history, I have read books about Gen. Odeirno’s contributions to the War in Iraq. It was an incredible experience to meet him and speak with him — however briefly.