ICPES Student Spotlight

Written by Laura Cusack – Manager, The Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems

Victoria is a senior at East Carolina University where she is triple majoring in quantitative economics, political science, and mathematics with a concentration in statistics. Her future plan is to pursue a PhD in economics with a focus in development. Her career goal is to conduct research that influences policy decisions. She is a member of the Phi Mu sisterhood as well as Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Epsilon, and president of Omicron Delta Kappa honors societies.

This summer Victoria interned at the Mercatus Center on the policy operations team. In this role she was able to perform an analysis of their publication process, compile data from policy research strategic plans, assist with executive level speeches, perform data validation on a draft working paper, and more. Through this experience Victoria soon realized that her internship was aligning with her future career goals. Not only was she given the opportunity to research free markets, but contributed to efforts that impact policy decisions on a larger scale.

In addition to her internship, Victoria took a foreign policy and economics course where she learned even more about free markets as well as different foreign policy perspectives. Through her internship, courses, and other opportunities offered by TFAS- Victoria is finishing her senior year strong with experience that will pave the way to a career that is sure to impact the world around her.

For more information on our summer programs, please click here.

IPJ Student Spotlight

Written by Joe Starrs, Director – Institute on Political Journalism 

Jasmine Campbell has very clear goals. She wants to be working in television as a reporter or news anchor. This past summer she took an important step toward that goal by completing a broadcast television internship with the Institute on Political Journalism (IPJ). She interned within sight of Capitol Hill at the Washington, DC bureau of cable television station, Spectrum News NY1. Her duties included interviewing members of the House and Senate, helping the news crew with their gear and researching stories for every broadcast day. As a recent graduate of the College of Charleston, Jasmine knew she needed more experience to be competitive. She got that experience – and more – with TFAS.

WHAT WAS THE MOST INTEREST THING YOU DID AT YOUR INTERNSHIP?
The most interesting thing I did at my internship was interviewing members of Congress when it came to issues that matters most such as the Health Care bill. Before coming to DC I didn’t know what bills were passed in Congress and I didn’t consider the impact it had on my family. Once I was up close and personal with lawmakers, it opened my eyes to their personal views and put in perspective how detrimental and vital these bills are for the American people. That really interested me!

WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN DC?
I loved the city aspect of DC I come from a really small town in South Carolina, so it felt good to live in a city a lot bigger than what I’m used to. Everything was fast paced and you can tell how motivated everyone was around you, so that made me love the city even more.

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR DC SUMMER HELPED YOU GROW PROFESSIONALLY?
This summer helped me grow professionally because I now feel like I can walk in any room and talk to anyone there. Whether it’s the CEO or a peer, I’m able to engage in conversations and network with professionals to expand my horizons  and meet colleagues anywhere I go.

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE PROGRAM?
The most challenging aspect of the program was honestly the class. I took an economics class while there, and it was my first time taking the class since high school. I was a bit intimidated at first, but I learned a lot about supply and demand and how the government works with other countries in terms of trade.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TFAS SPONSORED EVENT?
My favorite was definitely the Alumni Round Table. Meeting so many alumni who are successful in their professional career was really inspiring. And the food was excellent. 

WHAT  IS YOUR ADVICE TO STUDENTS CONSIDERING THE PROGRAM?
If you’re thinking about attending TFAS, I say go for it! It was my first time being in DC and I learned and experienced so much while there; I don’t regret it for a second. There’s a reason it’s number one in Google when searching for an internship in DC.

At the end of the summer, Jasmine was one of six students invited to speak at the closing ceremony marking the completion of the TFAS summer institutes. In her remarks she shared this story:

I was with the news producer at my internship, Courtney Pence. We were sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for the interview to start, and just having casual small talk. I began to tell her about my worries and how I was really worried going into the industry with just two broadcasting interviews under my belt. She stopped me during my sentence and said, “You can do this. Everything up until this very moment, you worked towards this. You have what it takes. Now you have to execute and show these news directors what I already know.” At that very moment, I wasn’t just a small girl from a small town. No matter what insecurities I had, I worked hard for these opportunities. It’s my job not to let them past by.

For more information on IPJ please visit www.DCinternships.org.

 

 

IBGA Student Profile

Written by Liz Hartman – Program Advisor, IBGA

Moises Balayla is a rising sophomore at Santa Fe College in Florida, pursuing majors in Economics and Political Science. Venezuela is home for Moises, but he has traveled to many places. After graduating high school, he completed a gap year in Israel where he participated in a leadership course and volunteered and worked in a kibbutz. Upon nearing completion of his freshman year, Moises’ advisor pointed him in the direction of TFAS. After being accepted to the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA), he was very excited to move to DC because of all the opportunities the city has to offer.

This summer Moises interned at Network Under 40, a company that hosts networking events around DC. His internship allowed him to work remotely and was therefore able to create his own hours. Because of this experience, he cultivated a desire to have a career where he is his own boss inspired from his supervisor and his working style.

Moises is especially excited to have had exposure to the Economics of Regulation course, and is looking forward to bringing that knowledge back to his campus this fall. When not in his economics class, he enjoyed going to the Smithsonian museums and has visited each one. He also enjoyed the guest lecture series, as well as the alumni round table where he received advice from TFAS supporters who have continued to help him while he has been in DC.

Overall, Moises had a very comprehensive summer in DC and took advantage of every opportunity that came his way. He was inspired by his TFAS experience, and said he sees the, “Whole experience as an inspiration to start learning by making mistakes now.” His mind has been opened to the diverse political opinions that TFAS offers both in and outside of the classroom. He was impressed by the caliber of people that he met from all over the country and the world. He recalled during the Capitol Hill Lecture Series featuring Rand Paul when he asked a question about Venezuela. At the conclusion of the lecture, someone from Colombia sought him out to talk with him. He felt this conversation proved that when in DC, you never know who you will meet and should always be ready for a discussion.

From attending plays and musicals at the Kennedy Center, small groups with fellow IBGA students, and networking events thorough his internship, his TFAS summer has helped shape his future plans to strive to become an entrepreneur.

IPJ Student Spotlight

Written by Brooke Cary – Program Advisor, IPJ

Each summer, students stand out because of their eagerness to learn, their dedication to their work and their living embodiment of gratitude, and Rosa Linde Rupert is definitely one of those students.

Rosa is the final stretches of a dual degree in philosophy and politics & economics from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She recently worked for her local radio station and organized a study trip to China where she interviewed the Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei. At the time of her interview, the artist was still under house arrest. The experience greatly impacted her desire to pursue a career in journalism and left her anxious to do more.

This was all just prior to hearing about TFAS through one of her university professors. After getting to know the program, Rosa decided to spend her summer studying journalism and interning in Washington, DC.

“Especially now, especially here [in D.C.], working at a foreign bureau as a political reporter is very, very exciting,” Rosa said.

This summer, Rosa interned with Al Arabiya, one of the largest Middle Eastern television news networks, regarded as a competitor to Al Jazeera. During her internship, she worked on research for live interviews, video editing projects and getting practice on both sides of the camera. Some of her highlights included attending a White House briefing and several State Department briefings. She also covered breaking news in DC, accompanying correspondents on their live projects and getting to know her supervisors.

“It was a really high-level internship in the sense that it was really challenging and interesting. So, I am really thankful that I got this opportunity through TFAS,” Rosa said. “Also, the skills I learned in the outside activities were also really helpful – like the networking seminar and the mentor breakfasts.”

Rosa had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and the Hirshhorn Museum, which was one of her definite favorites. She loved getting to meet other students from all over the US and felt that she got a better view of the country through her peers.

In the fall, Rosa will begin her Research Master’s degree in Social Sciences through the University of Amsterdam. She also intends to keep her finger on the pulse of political news by working part time as reporter. Rosa looks forward to staying in touch with her peers, colleagues and the mentors she met through TFAS.

“You are really are encouraged–and rightfully so–to go around and learn from others in the same situation, or others that have advanced already and to take their advice,” Rupert said. “I think it’s really valuable.”

For those who are looking to participate in a TFAS program, Rosa offered some of her own advice. “Enjoy it fully,” Rosa said. “Be present and open—also to the other students in the program, because that’s a really useful learning opportunity as well.”

DC Living – You Have Now Entered the Professional Sphere

Written by Liz Hartman – Program Advisor, IBGA

Moving and living in a city can be tough. To help you, here are five important tips I learned from my past summer in DC that helped me excel within my internship, TFAS and my everyday living in DC. Be your best self this summer by following these tips!

Get To Know the People You Work For
You might be working with people that are older, younger or the same age as you. There might be a lot of differences between the two of you, but it is important you listen and get to know who you work for. If your supervisor talks to you about their kids, be engaged and excited. It might not be something that you can relate to, but showing this extra attention and displaying that you care will go a long way with your supervisor.

Fight Mundane Routine
We all know the feeling of coming home from a long day and just wanting to sleep. However, there are just too many opportunities in this city to take advantage of! Go on a run through the national mall, look up extended hours for Smithsonian museums, attend networking events with your office, meet for informational interviews. The possibilities are endless if you have the willpower to fight monotonous routine, and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities awaiting you in DC.

Have a Prepared Elevator Speech 
There are many unexpected opportunities in DC to run into prominent people. Having an elevator speech prepared can help exponentially when gaining connections and future employment opportunities. Click here for examples and tips on how to write a good elevator speech.

 

Dress to Impress
Whether it be at your internship or out on the weekend, you never know when the opportunity will arise to attend an important networking or social event. Have a professional outfit prepared that you can wear on a whim to be ready for the numerous opportunities that will spring up this summer. Pay attention to the dress codes of different events, and know the differences between smart casual, business casual, and business professional!

Treat Everyone you Meet with Respect The person sitting next to you on the metro may someday be your boss, so it is very important that you treat everyone respectfully. Make an effort to put your best foot forward with everyone you meet. It could open a lot of doors in the future.

Building Mentor Relationships

Written by Grace Lederer – Program Advisor, ICPES

Forming relationships with mentors is an essential career tool. They will serve as a valuable resource throughout your career – offering advice, constructive criticism and insight in your area of interest. Below are some tips on having a beneficial mentor relationship.

Take Time to Prepare
Think about what you want to get out of each mentor meeting before arriving.  Are you seeking advice on etiquette and professionalism?  Do you want to be connected to more professionals in your field?  Do you need them to offer edits on your resume and cover letter?  You want to demonstrate that you value the time your mentor is spending with you.  Thinking about such topics before meeting will save you from answering “Uhhhm…I don’t know” when asked what you hope to get out of the meeting.

Be Positive
Attitude is everything.  Positive individuals often gravitate towards one another.  Never meet up with your mentor and proceed to complain about your workplace the entire time.  Even if you are not enjoying your job or your internship, always frame your update in a positive light, i.e. “I don’t see myself working for this organization after graduation but I have learned some really useful tools while there…”

 

Get Their Story
Ask your mentor how they landed their first job and how they moved onto their second.  According to CNN Money, workers in our generation will change jobs an average of four times before reaching the age of 32.  Learning how to navigate these transitions gracefully is essential—especially since people are more connected than ever.  Never speak poorly of former (or current) employers or burn your bridges when switching jobs.

 

Get the Timing Right
You will want to establish that you have their permission to write them as a reference on job applications and see if they would be comfortable writing you a letter of recommendation in the future.  This is a request best suited for a situation when you and your mentor have met multiple times and have established a trusting relationship.

Pick Brain Mentors
Your mentors don’t have to be people you know in real life!  Study the habits and success stories of figures that you admire—some people that I draw inspiration from are Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Malala Yousafzai, and Dietrich Mateschitz.  Following relevant people from your field also provides you with topics to make small talk about before getting down to business with your mentor.      

PA Testimonial – Reim

Written by Reim Alian – Program Advisor, Institute on Economics and International Affairs 

Growing up in a small town in Connecticut where the graduating classes were at most 60 students and small businesses scarcely lined Main Street, I yearned for the taste of the fast paced city life. Providence, Rhode Island where I attended college kept me pacified but did not completely satisfy my craving. It wasn’t until I spent eight weeks nestled in the heart of Washington D.C. did I finally feel full.

The city became less intimidating as each day passed. The busy morning commute to my internship became second nature as I scurried through the bustling Foggy Bottom Metro Station unfazed, in heels, with a coffee and bagel in hand, all while on the phone with my mom.

I spent eight weeks crammed in Suite 200 at 1001 Connecticut Avenue with eight other interns, passing around coffee pots and legal documents. Suite 200 is home to Americans For Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, an accredited non-governmental organization that promotes democracy and reform in Bahrain and other gulf states, all while raising awareness of human rights violations and abuses. ADHRB staff support and advocate for human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists by collaborating with other entities in Bahrain, the Middle East, the European Union and the United States.

As an intern, I translated documents, live tweeted segments of the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and examined several accounts of human rights violations. While at ADHRB, I published two online articles regarding UAE Cybersecurity Laws and Bahraini political prisoners. In addition, I researched and drafted sections of The Shia Discrimination Report in Saudi Arabia that was published in 2016.

When I wasn’t sitting at my ADHRB desk, or in the lecture hall at George Mason University, I was scaling the historic streets, watching the sunset from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, and indulging in red velvet cupcakes and caramel cappuccinos, sitting in one cozy café at a time. And when I wasn’t eating cupcakes, I was attending rallies and keeping up with the news, as it was happening. I witnessed the potency of democracy when Democratic Representatives occupied the House floor demanding gun control reform and as the chants of “this is what democracy looks like” lingered through the thick June air.

The Fund For American Studies eminently affected my personal and professional development; and in eight short weeks, my understanding for international relations was transformed as I listened to the narratives of celebrated lecturers, such as Mr. Arthur Laffer of the Reagan Administration and as I learned about the detriments of poor economic policies and their disadvantaging effects on the Global South.

As my plane began to ascend, leaving The District behind, drowning in fiery sunset hues, I could not help but feel thankful for an incredible summer filled with challenge, growth, and opportunity. I closed my eyes thinking of when I would be able to return back home, back to D.C.