As the summer before my senior year drew to a close, I thought I had done it all. I had finished most of my higher-level graduation requirements at the George Washington University, worked on the executive boards of multiple on-campus organizations, and held an internship every semester since my first year, even a full-time intern position at the U.S. Department of State the previous spring. But since my first day at The Institute of World Politics, this internship surpassed my expectations and encouraged me not only to reassess my academic and professional goals, but to pursue them with unparalleled determination.
I can say with certainty that an internship with IWP is unlike any other in D.C. The community here is full of uniquely driven and caring individuals who genuinely want to get to know you and see you succeed. Even as someone who is not particularly outgoing, everyone here made it easy to connect with them and was keen to offer resume advice, networking connections, or even just a friendly chat on the grand staircase. Likewise, the internship program itself has been engineered to offer undergraduate students an invaluable opportunity to get a taste of graduate-level academics while also advancing their professional goals and gaining valuable work experience.
Working alongside Dr. Frank Marlo on his Principles of Strategy doctoral class, I became enamored with my research project because it offered me the flexibility to conduct independent research with the support and resources of an expert on the topic of strategy. Throughout the entire semester, Dr. Marlo was generous with his time and advice and worked to ensure that the project was intellectually stimulating and incorporated my existing knowledge and skills while developing new research habits and patterns of thinking. The entire research process was immensely rewarding and made me feel that I was more than just an intern – or even a student – but also a valued member of the IWP community.
I also audited a course with Prof. John Quattrocki titled “Case Studies in Counterintelligence Operations,” in which we assessed the careers of some of the most influential spies since World War II, the damage their actions inflicted on U.S. national security, and the American legislative responses meant to impede future foreign intelligence-gathering operations. I was immediately awed by the exceptional caliber of my classmates and by Prof. Quattrocki’s recounting of key CI cases, but what impacted me most was my realization that there was much more to learn about national security than my undergraduate classes had led me to believe. For this reason, my academic goals now reflect a strong conviction to pursue a master’s degree in intelligence studies and, in a few years, I hope to perhaps return home to the institution that fostered this dream in the first place.
Looking back, I find significance in every moment I spent here. From helping with IWP events to attending luncheons with former intelligence officers to spending quality time in the library researching Nazi grand strategy, there are endless possibilities for personal and professional enrichment here! Now, looking ahead towards my last semester of college and beyond, I could not feel more prepared or driven to succeed in all the new experiences and adventures to come.