Entering the final year of my undergraduate degree, I was seeking an opportunity to develop professional skills, build connections, and gain a clearer idea of my career goals. I previously applied for a summer internship with IWP but did not receive an offer. In actuality, this turned out for the best because I honed my research skills and altered my issues of interest.
I researched Afghan peace talks and the Central Asian crime-terror nexus with Dr. Harmon. He allowed me to pitch a research question to him, which combined both of our interests and culminated in a research paper. I audited a course entitled Cultural Intelligence for Strategy and Analysis with Professor Albert Santoli, who treated me as a student and challenged me to think critically about culture in diplomacy, security, and intelligence. The small class size of five full-time students made discussions more intimate and productive.
One of the most beneficial aspects was IWP’s Career Services. I entered the internship having a general idea of my long-term career aspirations, but Mr. Derrick Dortch guided me on a short-term path and, most importantly, my purpose. I encourage all future interns to take advantage of the resources and networks offered by Mr. Dortch as early as possible.
An important note I would like to bring up – though challenging at times, the virtual element was a silver lining. It added flexibility to my personal life and permitted me to simultaneously take courses at my university.
My internship with IWP was nothing short of fantastic. I learned that the IWP community is a family. Its staff and faculty care about your wellbeing, aspirations, and success. I look forward to maintaining connections to IWP in the coming years.
Collins K. Alexander