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The IWP Internship Experience: Emma Judge

Emma Judge at the Capitol

I was introduced to IWP at the fall job fair at American University, which was part of the AU Cornerstone Program, a program for freshmen to get an internship their second semester. I went into the fair not expecting much, but upon meeting Lana Houle at the IWP booth, I knew that I would not regret attending.

Instead of a stiff conversation about where I see myself in five years or what my coursework looks like this semester, Lana and I began by talking about the fact that we were/are SIS majors at AU and both have fathers in the military. Lana invited me to apply for the Events Internship position. After stressful weeks of waiting, I found out I had been offered the position. Accepting the position as an Events Intern has definitely been one of the highlights of my freshman year.

Working on the events team, I became part of a highly efficient and organized team that allowed me to think outside the box and work with them instead of for them. Every accomplishment I made was celebrated by every member of the team, and I always felt supported to ask questions or propose new ideas.

As a part of the events team, I also got the opportunity to sit in on our variety of public lectures, student roundtables, and alumni mentoring sessions. This allowed me to gain valuable insight into various fields, including national security, economics, international affairs, and intelligence. As a freshman, the opportunity to hear from these academics and practitioners helped me begin to think about where I see myself in the future.

In addition to being able to partake in various events at IWP, Director of Internship Programs Missy Pratt organized a variety of special intern activities that further pushed us interns to learn and explore. We visited various federal agencies and other organizations around D.C. A highlight for me was being able to visit the Pentagon, where I one day hope to work.

We also attended a variety of lecture lunches with IWP faculty, learning about topics ranging from getting research published to the founding of IWP. Another highlight of intern activities for me was when Prof. Aaron Danis hosted war games for the interns. As a freshman, I would never have been offered these opportunities, so this was something that I really enjoyed.

Finally another fantastic element of my IWP internship was the opportunity to audit graduate-level classes. Once again as a freshman without the IWP internship, I would never have been presented with this opportunity. I audited Counterintelligence in a Democratic Society with Prof. David Thomas. It was particularly the lecture on counterintelligence in the military that stoked my interest in entering a career in defense intelligence.

My experience as an events intern was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as I’ve learned team skills that will carry me into my future career as well as gain knowledge from current academics and practitioners.

Emma Judge
Events Intern, Spring 2024
From American University

Learn More About IWP Internships

IWP Interns at the Pentagon, Spring 2024