Tag Archives: internship

Brian Harper and the Council on Foreign Relations

During the 2018 spring semester, Brian Harper ’19 is serving as an intern in the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Latin America Studies Program. Founded in 1921, CFR is an independent, nonpartisan think tank and membership organization. It is responsible for publishing Foreign Affairs, a renowned journal covering international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

Brian works with Dr. Shannon O’Neil, the vice president, deputy director of studies, and Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America Studies at CFR, as well as Dr. O’Neil’s research associate, Sofía Ramírez. He conducts research for Dr. O’Neil’s articles, blog, and book chapters. This includes gathering information on political and social events in Latin America, in addition to studying historical and contemporary trade policy. Brian also writes memos and news digests to help keep Dr. O’Neil updated for her own writing and research.

Brian first learned about CFR’s internship program through Luther Flagstad ’18, who interned with CFR during the 2017 spring semester. Brian attended CFR’s Eighth Annual Back-to-School Event on Globalization in October 2017, networked with one of CFR’s recruiters at a career fair, and applied to several volunteer internship posts at CFR. He encourages anyone interested in CFR to attend any external events open to the public, to keep in touch with contacts from those events, and to use CFR’s materials for classes and to stay updated on current events.

“CFR is constantly publishing insightful articles that can serve as resources for political science and economic classes,” says Brian. “In the fall, I often cited CFR in papers and was thus more familiar with the organization’s work when it came time to apply for an internship. As an intern, I have had the opportunity to attend roundtables and do research on issues that are relevant to the topics we discuss in our classes. With six presidential elections taking place in Latin America this year, it is an exciting time to be working with a regional expert like Dr. O’Neil at CFR.”

Photos by Sofía Ramírez

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Catholic Relief Services 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program

Catholic Relief Services has selected three graduate students from Fordham University to participate in the 2018 International Peace and Development Travel Scholarship Program. All three students are graduating from Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development and are being assigned to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Haiti, Burkina Faso, and the Philippines.

Starting in January 2018, Ms. Theresa Hart will be working at the CRS Office in Manila in the Philippines. She will be assisting in the monitoring of various developing projects that CRS is sponsoring in Indonesia, Micronesia and in East Timor. Prior to her studies at Fordham, she served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Micronesia. Tess is from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph in Missouri.

After the Christmas break, Mr. Owen Fitzgerald will be heading out to Burkina Faso in West Africa, a very arid nation that faces serious agricultural issues. He will be assisting CRS on promoting both food security and better sanitation through the school system. Prior to his studies at Fordham, Owen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in neighboring Mali. Owen is originally from the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey.

Finally, Ms. Liia Khalikova is being assigned to CRS in Haiti. Haiti has suffered a number of natural disasters in recent years and Liia will be assisting them with their communications strategy. Liia comes from Tartarstan which is part of the Russian Federation. She is studying at Fordham on a Fulbright Fellowship.

While at Fordham these students have specialized in international development as well as in the management and assessment of development projects.

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Summer Series: Michael Johnson ’18 and the Millennium Challenge Corporation

By: Michael R. Johnson ’18

Michael R. Johnson ’18 was an intern at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the Department of Compact Operations on the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI) Team. The MCC is an innovative, independent U.S. aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Since 2004 the MCC has partnered with countries committed to good governance, economic freedom and citizen investments to identify priorities for achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

DCLI is the MCC’s partnership with the President’s Emergency Action Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that aims to support innovative and country-led approaches that promote evidence-based decision making for program and policies that address HIV/AIDS, global health, gender equality and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Data Collaboratives projects are strengthening the availability and use of data to improve lives and empower citizens to hold governments and donors more accountable for results.

As an intern, Michael provided support to the DCLI team in the Washington, DC office as well as project managers in Tanzania. A focus of his internship was aiding the replication of the Tanzanian program into Cote d’Ivoire through stakeholder mapping, root problem analysis, data ecosystem assessment, program logic creation and contributing to project development. Michael also handled the logistics of the MCC’s participation in the biennial African Open Data Conference involving programmatic formation and speaker outreach as well as leading the social media campaign and conducting post-session engagement analytics.

The MCC is very supportive of interns getting familiar with different departments, the processes of country investment as well as external partner organizations and events for exposure and networking opportunities around the capital. “The internship experience and living in DC for the summer has been constructive and pleasurable,” says Michael, “I can’t wait to go back to interact with my new colleagues and friends.”  Michael will be staying on with the MCC virtually through the end of the year.

 

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Summer Series: Luther Flagstad ’18 Serves as Political/Economic Intern at U.S. Embassy Kazakhstan

By: Luther Flagstad

This summer I had the opportunity to experience what life is like for Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) in the U.S. State Department living and working in Astana, Kazakhstan. On an eight-week assignment as the Political/Economic Sections’ Summer Intern, I briefed officers on attended meetings, contributed to reports back to Washington, and honed diplomatic communication and editing skills. But the biggest takeaway was simply the chance to “test-drive” a career I have been actively pursuing for seven years.

I first took the Foreign Service Officer Test (the first step in applying to be an FSO) in 2010 and failed decisively. My feedback was to get more international experience by considering something like the Peace Corps. So after a lengthy application process, I left for the Kyrgyz Republic seeking to gain new skills as a Peace Corps Volunteer in May of 2012. Four years working in grassroots development in the Kyrgyz Republic helped land me in the 2018 cohort of Fordham’s IPED Program with a Public Service Assistantship, and there I was able to extend my research, writing, and analytic skills further. In the fall semester, with substantial support from IPED professors and Fordham staff, I was fortunate enough to successfully apply for an internship position with the State Department.

Having secured a secret-level clearance with two days to spare (a process worthy of its own blog post) I was on a plane for Astana—the capital of Kazakhstan. I know that my regional experience and interests helped land the internship—that and the fact that there aren’t droves of students lining up to go to Central Asia. Yet, despite its remoteness, Kazakhstan is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to work and will continue to be so over the next thirty years.

Suddenly separated from its former fellow Soviet Republics in 1991, Kazakhstan struggled through the 1990s after an enormous economic contraction. But newly discovered oil and gas deposits on the Caspian Sea in the late 1990s afforded Kazakhstan massive subsequent growth, tripling its GDP per capita in purchasing power parity since 2000. The government is assiduously pursuing policies to bring Kazakhstan into the top thirty economies in the world by 2050. While this process won’t be perfectly smooth—Kazakhstan has yet to experience a transition of presidential power, and its liberal economic regime sometimes moves in fits—the country is emerging with many successes to its credit as well. Kazakhstan beat out Thailand for a two-year, non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for its 2017-2018 tenure, is host this summer to the World’s Fair’s EXPO 2017 on the theme “Future Energy,” and is currently hosting continuing rounds of talks in Astana on Syrian settlement.

Today, due to the U.S.’s own political upheavals, maybe you are among the many university students who once dreamed of a career in public service but are now reconsidering their options.  I would like to encourage you, however, as long as you have this dream, to keep these passions alive and to nurture them, whether through community activism, a job in local government, or any work that serves others. Fortunately for American citizens, U.S. government is bigger than one person—it always has been—and foreign and domestic policies are written, communicated, and implemented by thousands of individuals striving for the rights for all to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Policy is not something that exists on its own but is forwarded by the aggregate decisions of many. The U.S. government needs individuals of strong character who will edge the needle through consistent, daily commitment and service.

To be honest, I personally have not yet settled on how I will contribute and have opted to try out a number of different sectors as an IPED student. This is where IPED has a huge advantage; because of the schedule, content of coursework, incredible support of the program’s director and staff, access to professors, small cohort size, and comradery and encouragement from classmates, students can get the hands-on experience necessary to jump into a career upon graduation. I have interned with the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Department of State, assisted a professor with a research project, and coordinated the IPED Lecture Series—all in my first year! Over this next year I will continue to make use of these opportunities, seeking an internship with The Economist Intelligence Unit and a Boren Fellowship for Russian language study. With IPED, these outside fellowships, internships, and experiences are not just encouraged, but are actively supported and are consistently realized by IPED students every year.

If you desire to pursue an internship in the U.S. government, please reach out to me or any of the other IPED students doing government work this summer. And, if you’re interested in private sector consulting, internships with the United Nations, NGO work, or language study, there are IPED students ready to answer your questions on those areas as well.

Best of luck in your summer endeavors!

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Summer Series: Tess Hart ’18 and the Chuuk Women’s Council in Micronesia

By: Tess Hart

Tess Hart, an IPED Arrupe Fellow, was awarded the Santander International Internships Fellowship to spend part of the summer in Chuuk, Micronesia working at the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC). The CWC is an umbrella organization of 64 women’s groups across the state with over 1,000 total members. The mission of the organization is “to assist women in becoming more productive and self-sufficient members of our society through comprehensive programs which enhance the social, economic and physical well-being of women and their families in Chuuk.”

Members of the Chuuk Women’s Counsel at a general meeting joined by two representatives from USAID

The Chuuk Women’s Council is currently implementing their Tongen Inepwinéú, Tongen Fénúwach (Love of the family, Love of Our Islands) Climate Change Adaptation through Family, Gardens, Food, and Health Project, which is being funded through the USAID Pacific American Climate Action Fund (PACAM). The program involves training and providing ongoing support for 45 home gardeners, maintaining 3 community nurseries, and developing and implementing a high school gardening curriculum. The program seeks to help participants improve food security through climate resilient gardening methods with a co-benefit of increasing access to nutritious food options.

The USAID PACAM Review team meeting with the CWC.

Returning to the FSM having served as a Jesuit Volunteer in the region prior to attending IPED, Tess helped the CWC team prepare for their mid-term grant review. She worked with the Monitoring and Evaluation team and Project Coordinator to compile data and strengthen implementation methods. The review included visiting and interviewing home gardeners in the villages.

One of the CWC-PACAM sponsored home gardens in Sapuk village.

Tess with one of the many young beneficiaries of the home gardening program (11% are under 5 and an additional 29% are school aged).

In addition to assisting with the PACAM project, Tess assisted the with several grant applications and helped with the preparation of summer curriculums for the CWC’s Summer Enrichment Program for second to fifth graders, which focuses improving reading, writing, and math skills while exploring the importance of the environment and the impacts of climate change. She also reviewed the CWC’s Young Women’s Empowerment Program and helped prepare the implementing team for compliance with AusAid. Moreover, while in Chuuk, Tess had the opportunity to utilize the Micronesian Seminar library, attend the Xavier High School Class of 2017 graduation, attend the inauguration of the governor of Chuuk, and meet with the ambassador of the United States to the FSM.

There is nothing like a beautiful sunset in Chuuk, Micronesia.

Tess is very grateful to the CWC for warmly welcoming her back to Chuuk and allowing her to be a part of their programs. Her advice for students considering applying for Santander funding or seeking a summer internship is to look for opportunities early, make the experience your own, and pursue an area in which you are passionate.

 

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