I was introduced to IWP by a family friend, Hasanna Tyus, who currently works as the school’s Registrar and Institutional Research Officer. She knew that I’m rather passionate about politics and urged me to apply for IWP’s summer internship program. I am all the better for it.
As a rising senior at Dickinson College, majoring in political science, securing a profound summer internship was my top priority. The IWP experience was uniquely able to further both my professional and academic goals in such a way that a more traditional institution would not have been able to. I would never have learned about the school left to my own devices, but while there, it seemed to me that every influential figure within the intelligence community was deeply familiar with it. It’s pretty stunning when you’re sitting at the front desk, registering people for an event, and a couple of former ambassadors walk past you.
I conducted cybersecurity research with the Senior VP for Cyber Intelligence, Dean Lane. Under his guidance, I’ve been learning about cyber and transnational organized crime. However, several of the assignments forwent the cyber portion, instead focusing with greater detail on, for example, leadership qualities. This made my experience that much more universally applicable to my professional career.
Every IWP intern is able to audit a graduate-level course during their internship, and auditing Geography and Strategy with Professor Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was definitely one of the best decisions I made while here. Learning about the geopolitics of land, the atmosphere, waterways, space, and cyberspace was simply fascinating. I also managed to figure out how to pronounce Dr. Chodakiewicz’s name! Content aside, as someone still considering whether or not to attend graduate school, the opportunity to experience the dynamics of a Master’s-level course was invaluable.
One cannot discuss the IWP internship without referencing the profusion of opportunities available by virtue of the school being located in Washington, D.C. Among the events scheduled for us interns were tours of the Pentagon and State Department, attending the annual Congressional Baseball Game, and a visit to the Spy Museum. As I grew up in the metro area, I was probably more familiar with the city than most of my fellow interns, but it’s completely different under the professional lens.
Both literally and figuratively, the core of politics is people. IWP is no different. While here, I forged connections and met an astonishing cast of characters. The school is a truly professional environment, don’t get me wrong, but the camaraderie, support, and respect that members of the faculty demonstrated to mere interns was unexpected and transformed the experience. This attitude played a serious role in adding real value to the internship. Ultimately, it and the other tools the internship provides to you are all you need to flourish in Washington, but it’s up to you to unravel how to use them effectively.