My personal career mission is to use my optimism about American ideals to help achieve our nation’s foreign policy goals. From my first day at IWP, I knew that this school was founded on those exact goals.
As a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I knew that graduate schools form the backbone of D.C.’s academic environment, but I didn’t know how the experience was different from my undergraduate career. After my first handshakes with fellow interns, staff, and faculty, I learned the high importance that IWP places on each person who walks through the door.
Working on the Human Rights Team with our faculty mentor, Dr. Matthew Daniels, I learned valuable skills regarding digital media and internet activism. Our main task was to highlight the human rights abuses in popular media using short YouTube videos. In my own words, it was my responsibility to translate sympathy for characters into real-world activism and knowledge. With a variety of movies, from Whiplash to The Emperor’s New Groove, my eyes were opened to the connections between actors on silver screens to activists on city streets. Dr. Daniels worked with us closely on our projects, guiding us through the process of writing detailed scripts and compiling video clips. Through my work, I saw how non-profits such as Dr. Daniels’ Good of All reach digital natives around world and encourage them to speak out against human rights violations. I have always been inspired by the work of social activists in the 21st century; now, I am grateful for the opportunities to propel those movements through the IWP.
One of the most rewarding and rigorous opportunities at the internship is the option to audit graduate-level classes at the Institute. My previous knowledge of international relations trends was immeasurably changed when I audited the course “International Relations, Statecraft, and Integrated Strategies” with Dr. Frank Marlo. Dr. Marlo, an accomplished professor and writer, used his extensive background regarding IR theory to describe the fundamentals of political theory and how certain philosophical worldviews influence concrete policies. The vigor of classes, writing assignments, and exams contributed to the environment of academic achievement that is not often matched by traditional D.C. internships.
I can say with confidence that the most valuable aspect of the internship is IWP’s Career Services Center. They produce biweekly job postings that can not only be utilized by recently-graduated interns, but also by interns who are looking for career paths. My conversations with Director of Career Services Mr. Derrick Dortch were a chance to express my passions while also asking important questions about the daunting interview process. He connected me to the vast IWP alumni network and gave me advice on how to turn professional connections into career opportunities. I now go into networking events and café meetings with a renewed sense of optimism and focus.
The IWP internship experience is unique because you get to explore a topic that you’re passionate about while also learning what it feels like to be part of a graduate school community. As an intern, you get to see firsthand how policies are formulated, debates are invigorated, and friendships are forged.