Charlene Cordero is currently taking advantage of Maxwell’s World Partner Program with Sciences Po in Paris, France, where she is taking graduate courses and honing her French language skills even more.
This summer I worked as a Global Fellow at the Podesta Group (PG) in Washington, D.C. As an international security student with substantial work experience in be public sector, I wanted to spend the summer learning how the private sector can aid foreign and sovereign entities in advancing their public policy interests in Washington. PG allowed me to work closely with an exceptional team of public policy experts, dive into foreign policy issues that I would usually not be exposed to, and perfect my memo writing skills.
Though the caliber of PG and its staff made it a great workplace, the relationships I forged with my coworkers and other fellows became my favorite part of working at PG. I have honestly never worked somewhere where I felt so validated. Every time I completed a task or wrote a memo and sent them to the team, principals would reply lauding my good work and thorough memos. I often felt like my work did not call for such praise, as most went through numerous rounds of edits and comments with the team. But, the fact that the principals would take a few moments to reply how much they – and by extension the clients – appreciated my work made the whole experience a whole lot more fruitful.
Another great experience came from the exposure to issue areas that I would normally not know much about. At Maxwell – and for most of my life, if we’re being honest – I’ve strongly focused on Western Hemisphere issues due to my Dominican background and upbringing in the Caribbean. However, over the summer I learned more about the South China Sea dispute than I ever thought I would know. The research I did at PG allowed me to really learn about the conflict, the actors and issues at play and the potential international outcomes and reactions. I remember musing over the excitement I felt as I waited for the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague and the potential reactions of China, the Philippines, and the United States. That was something I did not expect to learn this summer!
My summer at Podesta was a great introduction to the work the private sector can do in advancing public policy. I’m humbled and honored at the work I completed and relationships I forged and leave DC ready to apply my newfound memo writing skills and South China Sea expertise at the Maxwell school.