Tish Harrison ’20 at US Commercial Service

During the Spring 2019 semester I was an International Trade intern with the U.S. Commercial Service. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. They help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. I worked with the Director of the US Export Assistance Center and two Senior International Trade Specialists in the Westchester, New York office. Some of my main responsibilities were to conduct market research, create reports for clients looking to break into international markets, and to create promotional materials for stakeholders.

I enjoyed the training, creating reports on international markets and creating promotional materials. The office provided comprehensive training on the different resources trade specialists use to assist American businesses. I was trained on how to use the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Data Tool, Global Trade Atlas, BMI Research Data Tool and the multifaceted database of trade information that is Export.gov. Using these resources, I was able to find which country markets would be most interested in one American company’s assistive equipment for the disabled. For another American business, I created a report on Russia’s healthcare equipment industry providing timelines of pertinent data such as government spending on healthcare, aging population, exchange rates, and how much Russian healthcare equipment is imported. These are just some examples of the work I was able to do.

I found out about this internship because one of the trade specialists in Westchester is an IPED alum herself. She emailed Dr. Schwalbenberg asking for applicants and I jumped at the opportunity. This was my very first internship experience ever, but I successfully applied past work and academic experience to the job. My IPED courses prepared me for this experience by familiarizing me with important economic indicators, writing skills, and research basics. The office’s positive response to my work made me even more confident that I could achieve my career goals. This internship was directly related to my goal of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. While I’ve always wanted to work in this capacity for the Department of State, I learned through this experience that the International Trade Administration has its own Foreign Service. They didn’t have to say much to convince me to apply to be a Foreign Commercial Service Officer. The focus on business growth, trade relationships, along with international travel make this the ideal career path for me.