My internship with IWP has been one of the most peculiar, yet fulfilling, summer experiences to date. Amid statewide shutdowns, I virtually joined the events and communications team from 1,100 miles away. Much of my work sought to welcome the public into The Institute of World Politics’ community, albeit through screens and emails instead of in-person events. The irony is that I have personally never set foot on IWP’s campus. How does one represent a school that she is unfamiliar with? How does one adapt to team dynamics when she has never personally met the team? How does one stay motivated while working from home? The biggest challenge of this internship arose from these paradoxes.
Despite these challenges, the events and communications team has been helpful and patient while showing me the ropes. Biweekly Zoom meetings provided a semblance of community and facilitated communication. They also kept me accountable for my work and gave me ideas on what projects the team needed help with. Throughout the internship, the events and communications team graciously pointed out ways for me to grow, while identifying and affirming my strengths. My supervisors taught me how to do data entry and operate Mailchimp, Eventbrite, and DonorPerfect. Working on long-term projects alongside the events staff has been especially beneficial. I have been lucky to see the progress that my attention to detail, discipline, and patience has made. Lastly, I enjoyed creative projects, such as curating posts for IWP’s social media and writing articles or letters for staff.
Although it was disappointing to trade a D.C. summer for screen time, I am grateful for the flexibility of this internship. My supervisors regularly asked if there were new skills that I wanted to develop, and they encouraged me to do tasks that piqued my interest. This has been an essential aspect of growing as a young professional. Additionally, the online internship allowed me to choose my hours and work anywhere, making part-time work easier to maintain. Though it certainly would have been fun to know IWP students, faculty, and professors in person, there have been many silver linings in working virtually.
I admire the holistic approach to understanding the arts of statecraft and Western civilization, which is taken on by IWP students. The IWP community is (and ought to be) proud of its broad understanding of theory and practice in the fields of national security and international affairs. From my perspective, the benefits are clear in the camaraderie of alumni and the kindness of faculty. It has been a privilege to work in this intellectual environment, even virtually.
Events and Communications Intern, Summer 2020