Category Archives: Internships

2018 Summer Internship Series: Donovan Hotz in Brazil

by: Donovan Hotz ’19

I spent the summer studying Portuguese in São Paulo, Brazil at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP), a small private university in the center of the city. I was able to fund my tuition, travel, and living arrangements through IPED’s Language Immersion Study Award (LISA). I spent seven weeks studying at the University and living with a wonderful host family nearby. Taking classes during the day and spending the evenings with my host family discussing the news and watching telenovelas was a great experience and a fantastic opportunity to improve my spoken and written Portuguese. The program allowed me to advance fairly quickly having not had any spoken Portuguese experience and having only relied on self-study prior to the program. By the end of the program, I was able to achieve an intermediate level in spoken and written Portuguese.

The program consisted of 4-hour classes 5 days a week with practice in reading, writing, conversation, and prepared presentations. One class per week consisted of a cultural day in which we were able to practice the language outside of a formal class setting while doing activities like scavenger hunts in the neighborhood and going to museums. Aside from providing the opportunity to use the language in various contexts, the cultural days were also great conversation starters with my host family which consisted of my host parents, host sister, and four Brazilian college students that also lived with the family during the semester. My host family not only gave me tons of practice with the language, but also allowed me to learn about Brazilian society from different perspectives.

Donovan with his host family, and three Brazilian college students

My Portuguese language skills will further my career interests in economic development in Latin America. After having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay I had developed strong skills in Spanish but wanted to pursue Portuguese as well given Brazil’s economic prominence in the region. The funding from LISA turned out to be the perfect opportunity for me to pursue this goal.


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2018 Summer Internship Series: Ben Boltz at the Hogar San Fransisco de Asis

by: Ben Boltz ’19

This past summer I interned at the Hogar San Fransisco de Asis in Chaclacayo, Peru.  The Hogar was founded in 1995 by Dr. Anthony Lazzara who felt a strong calling to help the impoverished wherever he could.  Dr. Lazzara, a trained pediatrician, found his calling in Peru where he has worked for the past 23 years to facilitate the treatment of the poor and needy in Peru.  The children at the Hogar have conditions that range from cleft lips to cancer and from spina bifida to brittle bone disease.  Everyone is welcome so long as they are under 18 years of age, when according to Peruvian law they can’t stay at the organization, and are poor, needy, and sick.  Dr. Lazzara has helped around 1,000 children since he arrived in Peru and his organization addresses a need that the Peruvian government does not address.

Dr. Lazzarra with the children in Hogar San Francisco de Asis

My role at the Hogar centered around monitoring and evaluation.  Dr. Lazzara, while as passionate as ever, has recently turned 76 and has been considering retirement for several years now.  However, he has not created any plans for succession and sustainability for the Hogar.  As such, I observed and helped volunteer at the Hogar while creating a needs based assessment that would help Dr. Lazzara plan for the future.  The assessment followed the SWOT format and pointed out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of and to the organization.  Additionally, the assessment primarily focused on the sustainability of the organization and possibilities for improvement for the future.

The report served two purposes.  Firstly, it gave Dr. Lazzara a new perspective and outlined areas for improvement such as a streamlined website, a more informative and descriptive newsletter, and changes to the current volunteer system.  Secondly, the same report compiled Dr. Lazzara’s thoughts on his retirement and the future of his organization into a plan for the future.  This report would then serve as a reference tool for both Dr. Lazzara and his staff when his retirement becomes more of a reality.

Volunteers of Hogar San Fransisco de Asis

As someone who is interested in sustainable development and understanding how non profit organizations work this internship was very valuable in a professional sense.  Prior to this internship I had no experience and very little knowledge concerning how non profits function in both a financial and legal sense.  Thanks to this internship I can better tailor my career goals to include possibly working for a similar organization.

For anyone interested in volunteering at the Hogar San Fransisco de Asis please visit or email Dr. Lazzara at

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Brian Harper at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas

by: Brian Harper ’19

I spent the summer of 2018 working with Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA), a remarkable opportunity to research and write about some of the most fascinating contemporary topics in Latin America.

Established in the 1960s, the two organizations that make up AS/COA are designed to foster learning and debate surrounding major political, economic, and social issues and trends throughout the Americas. This mission was especially relevant in 2018, with nine Latin American countries holding elections or otherwise experiencing a transition of power (in one case unexpectedly). AS/COA members include experts in relevant fields, while top governmental ministers and even sitting and former presidents routinely speak at AS/COA events.

Brian at the AS/COA

As part of AS/COA’s Web Team, my role was to support my colleagues in research, maintaining and updating AS/COA’s website with new content, and overseeing the organizations’ social media presence (primarily via Facebook and Twitter). When AS/COA held one of its Latin American Cities Conferences—as it did in Quito, Ecuador on my first day—it was my job to assist in live Tweeting the event. This task put my Spanish skills to the test.

Brian with the team from AS/COA

My coworkers have been exceedingly generous in giving me opportunities to cover topics that are of interest to me and AS/COA members. A story I pitched on a Migration Policy Institute report led to my putting together an article with interactive graphs documenting immigration policy under U.S. President Donald Trump. I also conducted an interview with a renowned Colombian journalist, wrote detailed explainers on Brazil’s presidential candidates and Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace, and assessed Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra’s first 100 days in office. Furthermore, I joined Young Professionals of the Americas’ (YPA) internal committee to help build a community of the next generation of leaders dedicated to AS/COA’s mission.

Reading academic and policy-oriented papers in IPED classes like Econometrics and Politics of Global Economic Relations made me more comfortable in the research I did with AS/COA. Moreover, I was able to synthesize what I learned in my work into papers I wrote on Colombia and Argentina for Political Risk Analysis and Emerging Markets respectively. Finally, this internship both complemented and built upon work I am doing with the Council on Foreign Relations’ Latin America Studies program.

I would encourage anyone interested in Latin America to consider applying to work with AS/COA or attending a YPA event. In addition to the Web Team, other departments offer internships, such as Communications and Strategic Engagement. You can learn more by visiting or following on these  organizations on social media (@ASCOA and @ascoaYPA).

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Greg Fischer, Elly Reserva, and Amr Ali’s French Language Immersion

IPED Arrupe Fellow Greg Fischer and Language Immersion Study Award Recipients Elly Reserva and Amr Ali all spent their Summer 2018 in different parts of France for an intensive study of the French language and culture. The three IPED students studied through Alliance Française, an international organization that aims to promote French language and culture around the world. The institution offers daily three-hour intensive language courses, complemented with various cultural activities and immersive experiences.

Greg Fischer in Grenoble

Greg’s class in Grenoble consisted of 7 to 10 students from all over the world (US, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland, Colombia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Venezuela). The instructor brought years of experience from teaching French in East Asia through Alliance Française. Greg arranged a long-term stay through AirBnB which allowed him to use his host to practice his French and continue his immersive experience away from the classroom.

Greg with his classmates


Greg said “A long term immersive experience such as studying French requires you to recreate your daily routine in a different language. That’s invaluable. Having to rely on the language you’re learning enables a greater internalization of the material being used in class.” The diversity of France was on full display in the neighborhood where he stayed; he lived in a neighborhood with a high population of West Africa immigrants and passed through the Tunisia and Algerian stores in order to get to class every day.

Greg and Amr in France

The timing of studying French was also ideal for Greg who was able to watch much of the 2018 World Cup outside of the classroom. It was always easy to find a large public place with a large crowd to watch a French National team game en route to their World Cup victory (unfortunately Greg left France before the final). As an avid fan, coach, and player, the World Cup served as an easy way to bond with other French fans.

Learning French with IPED was a worthwhile experience for Greg. The summer immersion experience with Alliance Française offers a wealth of learning experiences for all beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. The courses are intensive and the opportunities for immersion are boundless. While learning a new language is not a simple or easy process, Greg feels that he got the strong foundation he needed to build upon his language skills.

Elly Reserva in Lyon

Elly’s choice to study French in Lyon was influenced in part by its identity of being France’s gastronomy capital and its reputation of being a student-friendly city. The size of the city itself was perfect for her too, saying that “it was not too huge that it overwhelmed someone like me who’s a first-timer in France, and not too small that I always had something to do after class to continue the French immersion—most of which involved exploring the different Bouchon Lyonnais (restaurants that serve the traditional Lyon cuisine).”

At a bouchon lyonnais, about to feast on Andouillettes de Lyon

Like Greg, Elly’s class was small, composed of students from different parts of the world with different backgrounds and motivations for studying French. The fact that the classes are small allowed them to have enough time to actively participate in class. Alliance Française conducts a placement test before courses start to match and group students at the right level. However, the school organizes various activities so that students from various levels get to interact with one another.

On their last day, the French professor brought cheese to class, while each student brought little somethings from their country for a mini feast!

Elly stayed with a host family throughout her stay in Lyon. Her host family complemented her learning in school by including her in the day-to-day family activities, giving her a closer look to the French traditions and customs. “I couldn’t have asked for a better host family. They made my study of French successful, and my stay in Lyon truly memorable. I still exchange e-mails with them regularly, and I hope I can keep it up.”

Elly’s farewell dinner prepared by her host family. Au revoir!

After the summer language immersion, Elly intends to continue learning French to prepare her for a career in International Development.

At the Ancient Roman Theatres with an overlooking view of Lyon

Amr Ali in Toulouse

Amr’s decision for applying to LISA was influenced by his passion to learn new languages, in addition to the importance of speaking French in pursuing a career in International Development. Located at the south of France, Toulouse, was a perfect choice for Amr. The city is one of France’s most historic cities counts two of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s a very small and walkable city with elegant buildings and unique architecture. Most of the buildings are made of pinkish bricks, which earned it the name “La Ville Rose” (The Pink City). Amr said, “Toulouse offered a very friendly atmosphere to learn a new language. Although it was a small city, I was able to do different activities which helped me to practice French. Also, the location was great and enabled me to explore different parts of France.”

Amr with his classmates

Like Greg and Elly, the class size was small (10-12 students) which ensured the interaction and participation in class. In addition, Alliance Francaise offered lots of activities such as cooking, singing, and visiting Toulouse’s landmarks such as the headquarter of Airbus. These activities ensured the continuance of the immersion nature and acquiring varied range of vocabularies in different aspects of life. Unlike Greg, Amr was lucky to celebrate France’s World Cup victory and to witness the country’s celebrations.

At the Airbus headquarter during Alliance Francaise trip

Alliance Francaise helped Amr to stay with a host family which helped him to practice French and continue the immersion nature. The LISA experience was remarkable for Amr; “I couldn’t ask for a better summer and learning experience,” he said.

At the Calanque de Marseille while exploring France with Greg

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2018 Summer Internship Series: Tait Militana at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

By: Tait Militana ’19

During the summer 2018, Tait Militana joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a student trainee in economics. He worked at the Economic Research Service, USDA’s arm for agriculture and economics research, where he supported a data product that forecasts income across the U.S. farm sector.  The product is released three times a year, providing a measure of the health of the farm sector as well as its contribution to GDP

Tait’s principal project was to build out a database of historic farm income forecasts and provide initial analysis to help ERS answer the question: How accurate are our projections?

He also provided support for ERS’ August income release.

Tait in the U.S. Department of Agriculture

During his internship, Tait worked extensively with the SAS and Stata statistical programs and learned data manipulation and extraction techniques.

“Having the opportunity to program every day in a research environment helped me deepen my skill set in quantitative analysis and compliment the economics training I’ve received at IPED,” Tait said.

In addition to the programming experience, the ERS internship exposed Tait to the many policy issue affecting American farmers as well as the federal system for producing, analyzing, and dissemination economic statistics.

A group photo with the team from USDA

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