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The IWP Internship Experience: Sumner Levenson

Obtaining an internship in college is one of the most nerve-wracking, exciting, and useful experiences one will have during their time as an undergraduate. Leading up to my senior year, obtaining an internship was constantly on my mind. Specifically, I was looking for an internship in my field of study, hands-on experience, and most importantly, a supportive atmosphere. Luckily, after three months of interning at IWP, I can say that all three goals were reached beyond my expectations. I first found out about the IWP internship program through a career fair at my university. What caught my eye was the research experience that interns gain throughout the program, and with full excitement, I applied.

Throughout the internship, I got to work with Dr. Anne Bradley researching the political economy of terrorism. As an undergraduate, I have conducted research for academic papers, but I have never seen how academic professionals go about the research process. It was very eye-opening to learn different research methods and how the process unfolds when writing a book, article, or publishing data. Along with the great research experience, IWP provided its interns with hands-on activities. My personal favorite was Exercise Dragon Teeth, a simulation where interns role-played senior government officials for teams representing the United States, Taiwan, and China to battle out the Taiwan-China crisis. These activities were coupled with seminars, lecture lunches, and roundtable events that informed interns of all types of topics, from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence. The intern was not just an administrative aid, working with their supervisors on integral and useful projects, but a student as well. Lastly, the IWP community really cared about my professional aspirations. Through surveys and learning about my academic fields of interest, I was connected with IWP alumni to have informative discussions and to expand my network, as well as learn a bit more about a “day in the life.”

As I finish up the fall semester of my senior year, I have gained the confidence to work in this field and be a graduate student. The different aspects of the IWP internship really helped to build my skills, which will undoubtedly aid in my professional endeavors for many years to come. I enthusiastically recommend IWP to those interested in foreign policy, international relations, or national security as either a graduate student or an intern.

Sumner Levenson
Fall 2021

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