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The IWP Internship Experience: Anna Conover

The best part of interning at the Institute of World Politics is meeting the people who are so dedicated to IWP’s mission of soft power and classic American values. Through auditing a graduate level class, I was able to learn from not only the professors but, also from the students taking the classes and working in the library. IWP has provided me with an experience in applicable academics, showing me – at the conclusion of my undergraduate career – how much influence informed policy can have.

Having an undergraduate background in international affairs and mandarin Chinese, I was unsure of how helpful I would be interning for the Cyber research team. The staff was welcoming and open to project ideas, and, during my summer, I was able to assist a professor in creating a syllabus for an IWP class on national defense, artificial intelligence, and cyber strategy. Capt. Dean Lane USN Ret. was the guiding light for the Cyber team, and our group of interns was able to develop individualized research projects and shape them to the needs of the Institute. With Capt. Lane’s experience in Silicon Valley and corporate cyber security, he was able to provide applicable context for both team and individual projects.

One of my favorite elements of the IWP internship was how well-rounded the program is. Interns are provided with academic and administrative roles, giving us a chance to find our footing in the daily life of the Institute, and, at the same time, we were able to develop professional relationships and audit classes alongside graduate students while working our own research projects. In auditing a class, I was able to elevate my skills as a student to meet the caliber of the students here as well as learn their stories and why they chose to study at IWP. The true privilege of working here has been discovering the enthusiasm and passion of both professors and students for American institutions and the power of human interaction in small acts of diplomacy abroad.

I have loved my time here at The Institute of World Politics, and I look forward to returning to complete a graduate degree at the end of my active duty commitment. My undergraduate experience at the Virginia Military Institute has prepared me for a purposeful career in international policy, and I know that IWP will give me the tools I need to continue that journey.

My many thanks to the people who made this internship possible: Spencer Bakich at VMI, Adam Smith who shepherds the interns, Allison Bimber who takes us all under her wing, and Dean Lane, the force behind the Cyber team. I anticipate working with my fellow interns again in the future, particularly Amanda and Crisalicie.

Anna Conover
Intern, Summer 2018