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The IWP Internship Experience: Jillian Weitzel

Jillian Weitzel

I first heard about The Institute of World Politics at a graduate school fair when I was a junior at Brigham Young University. I had never heard about the school before, but I was intrigued as it was one of the few schools that had programs focusing on national security. I met with a recruiter and learned more about IWP’s programs, including its internship program. I kept this in mind, and, when I began applying for summer internships in D.C., I decided to apply to IWP. During my research, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about the Institute before. IWP’s mission, the quality of education offered, and the range of expertise of the professors and staff persuaded me to spend my summer at IWP.

The first day at IWP, I realized how unique the IWP internship is. I was immediately trusted to help with projects that had a real impact – not just busy work that many D.C. interns have to do. The internship exceeded my expectations, and it has prepared me for my future career in national security. The staff and faculty at IWP genuinely care about interns and treat them with respect as well as future leaders in the public and private sector.

The excursions and opportunities that are provided for IWP interns are one of a kind and immensely useful for networking. One of my favorite experiences was the private tour of the Pentagon led by two Department of Defense staffers with ties to IWP. The tour gave insight into working at the Pentagon, not just a tour of the building, which general tourists get.

Working specifically with the Counterterrorism team, I’ve come to better appreciate the work in that field, and it has inspired me to focus on counterterrorism analysis long-term. I was surprised at the caliber and range of tasks I was able to do without a security clearance. I believe this is one of the best national security internships that doesn’t require months of background clearance procedures. What I have most appreciated at IWP is that the scholar-practitioners and staff treat the interns as future colleagues instead of subordinates. This behavior brings out the best behavior in interns, and it encourages us to exceed expectations, not out of fear but genuine desire to do so.

My other friends interning around D.C. have complained about the mundane tasks and busy work they have had to do, and I am so happy that I have never experienced that while at IWP. The work done here matters, and I have no regrets about choosing to work at IWP. I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to work and learn at The Institute of World Politics, and I know the lessons I learned will impact the rest of my education and career path.

Jillian Weitzel
Intern, Summer 2018