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The IWP Internship Experience: Katie Lynch

Katie LynchAs a senior at George Mason University looking to gain an inside look into the realm of Washington politics and international policy, I knew The Institute of World Politics was the exact organization that would further both my professional and academic goals in an intellectually stimulating manner. Highly recommended by several graduate students and previous interns, IWP welcomed me and my passion for human rights law and conflict resolution immediately. I instantly felt connected to the staff members, professors, and other interns. Quickly recognizing the responsibility each intern is given, I exponentially increased my experience in administrative tasks, research endeavors, and events management planning.

Each new day at IWP proved to be a different and unique challenge, as I met a wide range of practitioners and experts in politics and statecraft across Washington, overall exceeding my expectations of what an internship at a graduate school would be like. As a component of my internship, I had the opportunity  to audit the course “International Organizations and Multilateral Diplomacy,” taught by Dr. Wayne Schroeder, an expert in the field of defense strategy, which involved an in depth analysis of the role of various international organizations as well as the United States’ engagement strategies with these institutions. This course was designed in a lecture format; however, given the small class size, it proved to be an intimate discussion each week on foreign policy strategies which allowed me to think critically and actively alongside my fellow students.

Additionally, I worked closely with Dr. Matt Daniels who holds the Chair of Law and Human Rights at IWP and is Founder of the Center for Human Rights and International Affairs at the Institute. Having the opportunity to produce content on human rights violations was an integral component of my experience, as it not only allowed myself to have a deeper appreciation and love for human rights and the beauty of international conventions, but to also contribute to the multiple expansion projects for Dr. Daniels’ non-profit organization Good of All. The highlight of this experience was having the opportunity to send my original project to the Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States, as well as expanding my knowledge on topics such as drug trafficking, women and disability rights, and political oppression.

Interns were frequently asked to participate in visits to prestigious institutes such as the FBI, the Pentagon, or Capitol Hill. Whether we were given private tours with an emphasis on gaining career and networking advice, expanding our understanding of the intelligence field, or assisting with IWP-led events, there was always an opportunity to see and experience Washington politics directly. Additionally, private lunches and student round tables were set up with professors and faculty, giving us further advice on how to start a career in D.C. and highlighting their experiences within their respective fields.

One of the most important lessons IWP has taught me is the emphasis on dedicating my passion and career objectives towards causes higher than oneself, cultivating a livelihood based on the service to and wellbeing of others. This mission will ultimately reside in the future of my personal and professional life. The respect, kindness, and mentorship I was continuously given was a privilege I will always remember and treasure. The Institute of World Politics undoubtedly opened multiple doors for me to kick start my career in international affairs. I could not recommend this internship more to someone who is looking for a challenging yet extremely rewarding opportunity to study and practice all avenues of politics directly!