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The IWP Internship Experience: Gillian Hand

I was first introduced to The Institute of World Politics at an internship and career fair at The George Washington University. IWP quickly caught my eye because it was something different. When I was told by recruiters that interns get paired with a faculty member who specializes in what you wish to research, I knew I had to apply. I have always aspired to work in the national security field, and this internship has certainly set me on the right path.

This internship gave me something very valuable, a mentor. While working with Professor Tsagronis throughout the semester, I saw my research and critical thinking skills greatly improve. I got to do meaningful research on topics I was really interested in and cared about. For example, I got to do in-depth research on the remaining threat of ISIS. I was able to uncover where they still operate today, their new tactics, who financially supports them, and so forth.

My internship at IWP has been a great steppingstone into the national security field. Throughout my time interning, IWP Career Services and various staff members were always there to support me in furthering my goals. Career Services helped me set an individualized plan for my job aspirations, and it has worked. By using the advice of IWP Career Services, I have been asked to interview at government agencies for future job opportunities.

Going into my internship at IWP, I really did not know what to expect, but this experience has been greater than what I could have imagined. I was able to audit a course at IWP titled “Counterterrorism and the Democracies,” where I learned a wide array of counterterrorism tactics and experienced firsthand the high caliber education students receive at IWP.

One advantage of interning at IWP is that IWP really cares about aiding you in your professional development. I had the opportunity to talk with several national security experts throughout my internship. While attending events hosted by the Institute, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Lenczowski, IWP President and former Director of European and Soviet Affairs on the National Security Council, and Professor Jim Olson, former Chief of CIA Counterintelligence. The array of events IWP holds is truly impressive, and attending these events has enlightened me on a wide array of topics.

One “only at IWP” moment that I got to have was participating in Baltic Storm, an intelligence simulation on a Russian-NATO crisis. For two weeks, I got to be a SIGINT analyst, create a schema, give security briefings, and engage in policy-making decisions. During this simulation, I experienced firsthand how the intelligence community works and learned vital skills that will enable me to be successful in the intelligence field. If I learned one thing at IWP during my internship, it would be that I am now sure, more than ever, that I want to pursue a career in national security and do my part to serve our country.

Gillian Hand
Spring 2020

Learn more about IWP internships