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The IWP Internship Experience: Lexi Koplas

Lexi KoplasAs a rising senior studying Political Science and Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, I was eager to spend my summer in Washington D.C. learning more about careers in public service. More specifically, I wanted to better understand what a career in national security entailed. During my internship search, I came across IWP and found its mission particularly unique. The Institute of World Politics’ internship differed from other organizations because it offered the opportunity to take graduate-level courses while engaging in individual research projects. My internship experience at IWP exposed me to countless individuals and organizations focused on various topics of interest; as a result of these experiences, I could begin to envision myself in various career paths.

During my time at IWP, I enrolled in Dr. Wayne Schroeder’s course on U.S. Bilateral Security Agreements. I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Schroeder’s lectures on how the U.S. frames defense policies in ways that align with national security policy interests. Before starting this class, I was interested to learn more about national policy objectives in an era of great power competition. I especially wanted to take advantage of this course because I will be writing a senior thesis during the final year of my undergraduate studies; Dr. Schroeder’s class became the perfect opportunity to craft my interests into a feasible and “researchable” topic. I appreciated the expertise Dr. S contributed during his lectures because his own knowledge assisted how I approached and conducted my research.

Beyond my research, I also attended various lectures and events throughout the internship. The networking opportunities offered through IWP allowed me to meet incredible individuals, eager to share their knowledge and experiences with current interns. As an undergraduate discerning what my post-grad experience may look like, it was encouraging to hear from practitioners in a variety of fields. These events, conferences, and site visits throughout D.C. allowed me to consider what my own future career and lifestyle could look like. Overall, I will remember and remain appreciative of my experiences at IWP as I move forward in my educational journey and career discernment.

Lexi Koplas
Summer 2023

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