Category Archives: Internship Stories

Internship stories shared by students

Acronym Salad: Part I – USAID

USAID Small Logo

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the U.S. Government’s primary agency for international development and humanitarian assistance.  Given the breadth of its programming, the agency and its workers will often use short-hand notation to describe the offices in which they work and the programs that are carried out within.

In this edition of acronym salad, we will discuss two primary acronyms of use to potential development workers, IQC (Indefinite Quantity Contracts) and PVO (Private Voluntary Organizations)

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How to Make Your DoS Internship Stand Out!

On Friday, we spoke about State Department Internships, what they are and how they can benefit graduate students.  Now, since the Department’s internship application opens today, I thought it would be good to talk about how to make your application stand out and secure the internship placement that fits your strengths. Continue reading

Interning with the Department of State

Seal of the US State Department

Seal of the US State Department

Each year, the MAIR program has a number of students pursue internships with the U.S. Department of State at home and abroad.  The class that entered in 2013 could count among their number students who worked in the US Embassy in Cyprus, the US Embassy in the Philippines, US Embassy in Singapore as well as colleagues in the bureaus of African Affairs, Conflict and Stabilization OperationsInternational Security and Non-Proliferation, and Population, Refugees and Migration. Since the Department’s Internship Application will open on Monday, September 2, 2014 and close on October 17, 2014, those of you interested in the opportunity will need to work quickly to make sure that your application materials are submitted on time. More information about State Department Internships is below the fold. Continue reading

Nitika Sethi – Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement (GRAAM)

GRAAM workers in the field

Preparing the District Human Development Report
Source: Graam.org.in

Ms. Nitika Sethi is a dual-degree student studying International Relations and Public Administration.

I spent 11 weeks in Mysore, India working for the Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement (GRAAM). GRAAM is a policy initiative of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) nonprofit organization. The GRAAM team works to develop research and advocacy agendas to influence all levels of policy in response to the widespread grassroots efforts of SVYM in public health, education, governance, and rural development. Continue reading

Greg Flatow – Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability

During the fall semester of 2013, I participated in an internship program with the Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS). I completed this internship while taking intensive Arabic courses at the University of Tunis Carthage.

University of Tunis - Carthage

University of Tunis – Carthage
Photo: Greg Flatow

My internship provided me with a forum to practice my newly acquired language skills, while simultaneously affording me the opportunity to gain professional work experience with an international organization. Due to my experiences at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which provided me with the necessary skillset to engage in an internship organization, I was able to actively participate in my internship program and enhance the productivity of my organization.

My activities at TAMSS varied significantly throughout the semester, and I have been utilized on an as-needed basis by the different offices in the organization. My first project entailed constructing information packets for Tunisians in the informal economy. Many Tunisians are not cognizant of the robust labor code in Tunisia and the governmental programs established to help informal workers enter formal employment. My objective was to summarize the benefits of formal employment in a concise document that could later be translated into Arabic.

I also worked on the Women in Democracy project, which focuses on augmenting Tunisians’ knowledge on democratic practices and preparing Tunisians for the upcoming elections. Local volunteers collected surveys on the population’s knowledge and interest in democratic affairs, and I worked with TAMSS employees to compile the data.

Additionally, I assisted a colleague with a research project on female entrepreneurship. Her intent is to analyze trends in the post-Arab Spring era, including the rise of Islamism and a more democratic government, in order to assess the impact that these changes have on female entrepreneurs. She is an American professor without a background in Arabic, and I assisted her in translating Arabic surveys and entering data into Excel spreadsheets.

My studies at the Maxwell School have pertained to security and foreign affairs, and it is my desire to acquire a governmental position that relates to these concentrations. I believe that many governmental agencies actively seek individuals who have previously engaged in international work and language studies. Through my work at TAMSS, I worked on various projects in the organization (some of which are funded by the US State Department), gained potential references for future job applications, and proved my ability to work in a foreign environment. It is my hope that this experience will provide a bridge to a desirable job in the future.

Matt Podolak – Converse Trading Company, Singapore

Just a pair of Chuck's

Converse’s most famous product
Source: Wikipedia

In the summer of 2013 I was hired by the Converse Trading Company to work in their finance section as an intern. I was assigned was to develop a database that would organize, track, manage, and provide data for projections/analysis in regard to their retail business return operations. Continue reading

Seth Binder – Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

Project on Middle East Democracy

Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)

This story was submitted by Seth Binder, who completed his graduate IR degree in the fall of 2013.

As part of the MAIR requirements, I participated in Syracuse’s Washington D.C., Global Security and Development Program (GSDP). This opportunity provided an array of course options and an endless number of internship possibilities in the DC area. Continue reading

Alex W. – The Public Affairs Sector in Washington

Where's the TPS reports?

The inside of a typical office building in Washington – Souce: Voice of America

This fall, I interned at a public affairs consulting firm. Thanks to this experience I learned a tremendous amount about the professional expectations of Washington DC and the political culture of our nation’s capital. Continue reading

Veronique Lee – A Summer in Kampala

Kampala's Taxi Park

Kampala’s Main Taxi Park
Source: V. Lee

Over the course of this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Kampala to intern with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Uganda.  My internship placed me within the Office of Economic Growth, where I served as the climate change intern. The experience provided invaluable insight into the field of international development from the perspective of U.S. Government and other bilateral and multilateral donors. Continue reading

Matt Podolak – Envision Consulting, Amman, Jordan

See, it snows everywhere, not just here

Amman in the Snow
Photo: Matt Podolak

My internship for Envision Consulting was arranged by Amideast, the academic program that I was participating in during my fall semester in Jordan. The internship was actually part of a course being offered, but I opted not to receive credit for the course, and instead volunteered my time at the consultancy in order to remain busy during the semester. Continue reading