The opportunities and experiences that I have had during my time at The Institute of World Politics have been immeasurable. I am confident in the fact that these experiences will benefit me greatly in my future career. Even though the Fall 2020 internship was virtual due to the coronavirus, I was able to achieve my personal and academic goals of furthering my knowledge of national and international security, as well as begin to expand my networking base.
I first found IWP’s internship program through my home university of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The coronavirus allowed me to pursue the internship since it was virtual and did not require me to relocate to the Washington D.C. area. Initially, I was not looking for or planning on having an internship this semester, but certain aspects of the IWP internship convinced me otherwise. I was able to audit graduate-level courses and partake in “lecture lunches” for interns that allowed us to interact with IWP faculty and staff. Additionally, I was paired with a faculty member to research a variety of international security topics.
During my internship, I conducted research with Dr. David Glancy on Chinese propaganda and political warfare. I was tasked with researching various G20 countries and how they view China as a threat. I had many conversations with Dr. Glancy concerning the various types of propaganda and tactics that China uses surrounding this topic. Additionally, I audited two IWP courses with Professor Aaron Danis: Strategic Terrorism and Violent Non-State Actors. The classes and coursework gave me valuable insight and challenged me to think about both topics with a new perspective.
One of my favorite experiences during my time at IWP was participating in two wargame simulations. I participated in Baltic Storm with Waymark Intelligence Solutions, LLC, which partners with IWP. I acted as an intelligence analyst and gathered and interpreted data before shifting into a policy position where my team used that collected data to form and implement international security policies. Through this simulation, I learned how to structure and present a briefing in the Bottom-Line-Up-Front (BLUF) format.
The other simulation I participated in was called ISIS Crisis, which simulated the 2014 Syrian crisis. Not only was I able to learn more about the history and events in Syria and Iraq in 2014, but I was also able to implement the knowledge that I learned from my IWP courses to apply the tactics, ideologies, and justifications towards the actions taken in the simulation.
Another invaluable opportunity that I had access to was IWP’s Career Services. I met with Mr. Derek Dortch, Director of Career Services, and together we created a plan for me to maximize the rest of my time as an undergraduate. He also helped me narrow my career options after graduation, as well as helped me focus my professional and academic interests and endeavors. Currently, I have two semesters left at UNC before I graduate, and I am still unsure of the career path that I wish to pursue, so talking with Mr. Dortch was an incredible opportunity.
My time at IWP was filled with so many valuable experiences and opportunities. The faculty and staff at IWP wanted nothing but to help me achieve my academic and career goals. My fellow interns also positively contributed to my experience and, even virtually, I was able to create many friendships. The IWP experience will only benefit me in the future, and I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity.