Internship Stories

Maggie Callahan Gets Rewards Tenfold with Aythos in Nepal

Nepal is not for the faint of heart. In the two months I lived there, I vomited from dust induced coughing a dozen times; made countless emergency visits to a squatty potty; got over 20 bed bug bites and seven leach bites; rode in a jeep with people hanging off the sides and sitting on the roof up a narrow winding mountain road; and survived countless motorbike rides through rush hour traffic without holding on to the man driving. Surprisingly, I would do it again, and I would recommend an Aythos Nepal internship to anyone ready to overcome these challenges for rewards tenfold.

Maggie Callahan assisting with health education
Maggie Callahan (2nd from left) assisting in women’s reproductive health trainings in Kathmandu

As an Aythos Nepal intern, no two days are alike, but each day brings new tasks and ways to effectively and meaningfully contribute to the work of the organization. My days in the office ranged from: leading and planning evaluation and monitoring trainings for staff, formulating needs assessments and surveys, researching for women’s empowerment and agriculture projects, assisting in program planning, and cutting out fabric pads for upcoming trainings.

My days outside the office, however, were my favorite. In the field, I hiked along the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen, learned and performed local dances, assisted in feminine hygiene and sustainable livelihood projects, and traveled to parts of Nepal that tourists never see. As for the places tourists see, my time off during the weekends and flexible schedule allowed me to travel to well traversed areas of Nepal as well.

Maggie Callahan at Nepalese Temple
Maggie Callahan traveling on free weekends throughout Nepal

Ultimately, my internship with Aythos Nepal was one of the most challenging experiences of my graduate school career. It pushed me out of my comfort zone professionally, culturally, physically, and mentally. It was an immeasurably valuable opportunity to constantly practice and refine the intercultural communication and program planning and evaluation skills that will be the cornerstone of my future career. For students ready for the challenge and eager to have an internship that gives them real experience, Aythos Nepal is the perfect fit.

Maggie Callahan is completing her joint MAIR/MSPR degree at the Maxwell and Newhouse schools at Syracuse University.

Maggie Callan at a Nepalese Temple
Maggie Callahan traveling on free weekends throughout Nepal
Maggie Callahan (Center) with her Aythos colleagues
Maggie Callahan (center) and her two supervisors at Aythos, Shanti Magar (left) and Samikshya Shrestha (right)
MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
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Henry Mau, In the heart of Europe

My name is Henry Mau and I spent my summer working for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. But hold on: What exactly is the Council of Europe? Often confused with “something from the European Union”, the CoE is actually not affiliated to the European Institutions. In fact, it is older (70 years) and has more members (48), including Russia and Turkey. It was the CoE that came up with the European flag and its anthem. Ever since its founding, the CoE has been operating in the fields of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law. The most notable institution that is part of the CoE is the European Court of Human Rights, where every citizen within the CoE’s jurisdiction can appeal to. But this is just, let’s say, the professional side of my journey in Strasbourg.

Henry Mau at the Council of Europe
Henry Mau with friend Emanuela, visiting the European Parliament. A living example of the cultural exchange that Europe stands for.

On a more personal note, moving to France for the summer let me experience the vibrant cultural melting pot that the so-called “European Capital” really is. Strasbourg, the largest city in France’s Alsace region, is a battleground of Europe’s bloody history and at the same time an uplifting symbol for the union of Europe. The European Union, a guarantor for peace among its member states for more than 70 years, is arguably one of the greatest achievements of humankind, a textbook example for intercultural understanding.

Myself an Italian-turned German, the mere fact of being able to cross the Franco-German border without stopping, let alone passport controls or an actually visible border check point, is just one of the countless benefits that the European Union provides for its citizens. But it certainly is enough to preserve the flame in my heart burning for the European integration project.

Henry Mau is a student in the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program, where he will complete a Master of Arts in International Relations at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY and a Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program
SU’s Strasbourg Center
The Maxwell School
The Hertie School of Governance

Leah Knobel Furthers Understanding of Human Rights

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, non profit organization dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 1,600 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who work for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.

Leah Knobel at the National Endowment for Democracy
Leah Knobel at NED

This summer, I had the opportunity to serve in the Endowment’s Office for Governmental Relations and Public Affairs; the office is responsible for maintaining relationships and strengthening NED’s reputation with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to advocate for our annual appropriation, as well as all communication functions of the organization.

As an intern, I worked on a diverse set of initiatives and projects. On a weekly basis, my responsibilities included cultivating a weekly update of legislation and hearings of relevance to NED, writing memos for hearings attended on the Hill, fulfilling FOIA requests, scheduling meetings with lawmakers and their staff, and assisting the public affairs team with communications outreach. I also worked on several long-term projects, including an extensive media list and the digitization of NED’s Annual Report .

I was fortunate to attend some of the Endowment’s major events. My first week coincided with NED’s annual Democracy Awards, which honored three defenders of human and religious rights in China. The Endowment regularly hosts discussions, panels, and guest speakers at its office; I attended countless events featuring experts in the areas of democracy promotion and human rights.

My experience with NED has helped refine and further my understanding of the world’s most pressing human rights issues and how the Endowment addresses them by supporting civil society movements abroad. My exposure to government and congressional relations work was by far one of the most valuable takeaways of my summer–the insight into Capitol Hill and the skills gained will serve me well into the future as a public diplomacy professional.

Leah Knobel is a MAIR/MSPR student at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools at Syracuse University.

MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
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Mark Aludino Delves Into Supply Chains in Singapore

With its bustling ports and world-class airport, Singapore functions as a hub in the Southeast Asian region. As such, goods transit through the island making it a haven for logistics companies, such as the YCH Group, where I interned for the summer. This opportunity to be part of Singapore’s largest home-grown supply chains company served to complement the year I spent at the Maxwell School under the MAIR program.

As an intern for the Consumer Lifestyle and E-Commerce Department, I was tasked to provide oversight on the company’s budding e-commerce hub, which provides added-value services for various consumer goods. With this responsibility, I split time handling business development affairs at the office level and experiencing first-hand the e-commerce operations at the warehouse. Through this attachment, I observed the intricate links in the supply chain process that enables an order made online to be delivered to the end-customer. What seemingly looks like a straightforward flow is riddled with partnerships and sharing of responsibilities between different stakeholders, from the producer to the warehouse team to the last-mile provider.

Mark Aludino at YCH Group
Mark Aludino (left) with a fellow SU student intern

During my stay, I regularly produced and updated two outputs: the E-Commerce Issue Log and the Evaluation of YCH’s Last-Mile Service Provider. In the log, I highlighted the concerns that negatively affected the timeliness and accuracy of the picking, sorting, and packing of products while informing the department of the most common problems as reflected in the statistics I provided. Even more, in the evaluation of the firm’s last-mile partner, I kept track of their performance to ensure that they are meeting the agreed-upon requirements. In fact, one of the highlights of my internship was presenting these data in a high-level meeting with our last-mile partner.

While I was mainly attached to the e-commerce arm, I was also brought in to provide my insight on contracts, where my governance training proved handy. It was then that I realized that there is a need to balance parity and business decision-making under this private setting. Overall, through SU’s Singapore Program, I increased my knowledge of logistics and service provision, which are crucial in international development.

SU Singapore Students 2019
Mark Aludino (2nd from left) and fellow Singapore program students.
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Singapore Summer Internships Program
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Adam Sawyer Works on World Migration Report for IOM

As a UN-related agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is charged with coordinating with States, NGOs, and international organizations to ensure that migration occurs in a safe, orderly, regular, and humane fashion. I’ve been completing an internship in IOM’s Migration Policy Research Division, the office that guides and informs the international migration policy arena based on the expertise collected from all over the world.

Much of my time over my internship has been focused on the flagship publication of IOM,  World Migration Report 2020. As we approach the final months before the Report’s release date in December, sources need verification, visuals need a second look, and the digit of every number needs to be checked against the referenced statistic. Since many academic institutions trust IOM outputs as the backstop for their own publications, IOM must ensure that the reporting of all empirical findings passes the highest level of scrutiny.

IOM does an excellent job at ensuring that interns receive a professional experience that is rigorous. Already, significant research responsibilities have come to my desk, including the drafting of country migration briefs and data visualization for various publications. In addition, I am one of the coordinating IOM officials responsible for organizing and marketing the IOM Headquarters Lunchtime Seminars, a monthly event in which a visiting scholar gives a presentation, a Q&A session, and an interview on a topic related to migration. By December, I will be supporting the research team as it prepares for the meeting of the IOM Council as well as preparations for the first Global Refugees Forum, all taking place here in Geneva.

Work and home life share common themes. In Geneva, since nearly everyone comes from a different part of the world, the topic of migration is never far from discussion. I came here hoping to learn more about the European experience of migration as a sort of case study that could be compared with the policy response seen in the United States. Already, I’ve learned so much.

Adam Sawyer is a MAIR student who has been interning at IOM since last summer. He will graduate in December with six months experience interning at IOM and after completing a course in Geneva featuring high profile guest speakers from the international system.

Adam Sawyer Overlooking Geneva
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
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Johnathan Medina Researches Fintech in Southeast Asia for the EU

This past summer I interned with the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels where I worked as a Junior Researcher. EIAS was formed in 1989 and aims to contribute to the dialogue and improve relations between the EU and Asia. EIAS is a small organization where interns are given a great deal of responsibility from conducting our own research projects for the institute’s website to assisting with the logistics of events we held for Asian representatives.

Johnathan Medina (3 from R) with fellow interns and EIAS employees.

Given my technology background and EIAS wanting to focus more on the area, my summer projects focused on Financial Technology in Southeast Asia and how the EU can play a role. I had the opportunity previously to travel throughout Southeast Asia and work as an English teacher in Beijing.  This firsthand experience made researching the subject much more enjoyable and valuable experience. I appreciated the chance to work as a researcher and write papers that can be read by such a large audience. A big part of my internship was also networking with government and business officials who we hosted events for. It was eye-opening learning from their perspectives and experience and something that will be helpful throughout my career.

The most enjoyable aspect of my interest was getting to know my co-workers who were all incredibly talented. Each one of us came from a different country, which really helped to bring other perspectives into our conversations. I feel I learned the most just from our everyday conversations and it was something I really enjoyed. Overall my experience at EIAS was better than I could have imagined and will certainly help me as I transition long-term into my career.

Johnathan Medina is an MAIR student currently completing his degree in the Maxwell-in-Washington Program.

Maxwell MAIR students Federico Ohle (2 from L), Johnathan Medina (3 from L), Michaela Eagan (2 from R), and other SU students in Brussels with Program Director, George Terzis (far R).
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
The European and Global Internship Program in Brussels
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Molly Martin, Strategic Communications at USAID

This summer I had the opportunity to put my public diplomacy classes to work at the United States Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. As a Strategic Communications intern in the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, I got help tell USAID’s story to the American people and the world.

LPA is responsible for managing and coordinating the Agency’s external affairs, making it the perfect spot for me as I work towards a dual degree in Public Relations and International Relations in the Public Diplomacy program at Syracuse. Although there was no “typical day” in LPA, my main responsibilities included everything from editing blog posts from USAID missions around the world (like this one from North Macedonia), to pitching and writing my own blogs, to building social media toolkits for Agency newsletters, to joining high-level meetings with senior leadership and external partners.

LPA serves as USAID’s central point of contact with Congress, the media, and the international development community, which gave me a lot of exposure to many different parts of the development space. The LPA team encourages their interns to take advantage of the countless think tank panels, Congressional hearings, and USAID events happening around town, which really helped me connect what I was learning in the classroom to the real world.

Some of the highlights include representing USAID at Congressional hearings on the Ebola outbreak in the DRC and protests in Somalia (see if you can spot me in Rep. Bass’s tweet), attending a talk by Nobel Laureate and human rights activist Nadia Murad, and helping USAID’s Democracy, Human Rights and Governance team launch the new US Government Strategy for Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity at the White House.

Molly Martin working hard at the launch of the new USG Strategy for Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity at
the White House.

Although I was nearly 400 miles away from campus, I still felt close to SU. One of the best parts of my DC experience was connecting with Syracuse alums and students based in the area. Their advice and insight into DC life has been so helpful throughout the summer and as I get ready to finish my degree in Washington this spring!

Molly Martin at USAID
MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
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Michaela Eagan, Cultural Diplomacy in Brussels

Interning at the Cultural Diplomacy Platform this summer I had a front-row seat to the EU’s implementation of the EU Strategy for international cultural relations. As an instrument of the European Commission, the Platform was launched in 2014 to engage third countries and their citizens through the medium of culture.

Prior to my internship, the Platform had received two requests for literary exchanges in 2018 and two more for the fall of 2019. Since literary exchanges were a new development for the Platform, with more anticipated requests in the future, I was tasked with developing a policy recommendation report on how to evaluate exchange requests, choose appropriate literary actors and measure the outcomes and success of the exchange. As a new initiative, my goal was to set out a policy framework to conduct purposeful cultural diplomacy within the literary sector.

In tandem with this project, I worked with the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL), Creative Europe and Literature Across Frontiers to bring award-winning authors to the New Delhi World Book Fair and the Guadalajara International Book Fair.

My internship provided me the opportunity to attend the annual European Development Days — a two-day event that brings together actors in the development sector from around the world to exchange ideas and innovations as well as debate the globe’s greatest development needs. Culture, gender, sustainability, inequality, healthcare, technology and politics were topics of discussion.

As a Public Diplomacy student, it was a rewarding experience to take theories out of the classroom and implement them in tangible ways through the day-to-day activities of cultural diplomacy.

Michaela Eagan is pursuing a joint MAIR/MSPR at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools at Syracuse University.

From left: Johnathan Medina, Michaela Eagan and Frederico Ohle in front of the St. Michael Statue Fountain at Sainte Catherines, Brussels
MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
The European and Global Internship Program in Brussels
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Linsey Armstrong Empowers Women in U.S. Foreign Policy

The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) at the U.S. Department of State seeks to promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls through U.S. foreign policy. S/GWI’s priority areas include: women, peace and security; adolescent girls; women’s economic empowerment; and gender-based violence. This spring, I had the opportunity to serve this office as one of two interns for the semester.

As an intern, I worked on numerous events and initiatives for the office including the 2019 International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award and the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. For these events and initiatives, I drafted talking points and other communications, as well as assisted with event planning, scheduling and coordination. I was also able to represent the office at public outreach events like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s International Women’s Day Forum and attend sessions at the 2019 Spring Meeting of the World Bank/IMF. Additionally, this internship provided me with opportunities to learn about press relations when volunteering for IWOC and the 70th NATO Ministerial.

Linsey Armstrong

Throughout my internship, I followed a rotation system that allowed me to shadow members of our functional policy, programming and regional teams. This rotation system was incredibly helpful, as I was able to gain strong insight into how intraoffice teams collaborate and work together to advance the S/GWI’s priorities. Throughout these rotations, I was invited to attend meetings with other DOS bureaus and civil society organizations, as well as work on substantive projects for each team. These experiences provided me a comprehensive view of U.S. foreign policy making and programming efforts.

My experience working for S/GWI was incredibly rewarding and helped me grow in countless ways. I was able to refine and further my understanding of multilateral fora and international organizations, foreign policy, issues affecting women and girls, and governmental communications processes. I was also able to develop writing, research and organizational skills. Working in a diverse office with passionate and intelligent advocates who work to champion women globally was incredible. This internship also provided me with great insight into the work of the U.S Department of State and the U.S. government as a whole.

Linsey Armstrong graduated with a joint MA International Relations and MS Public Relations (MAIR/MSPR) degree in May 2019. During the spring, she interned at the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State as part of the Washington Public Diplomacy Program.

Linsey Armstrong attending the 2019 International Women of Courage Award ceremony and reception, featuring special guests Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady of the United States Melania Trump.

Linsey Armstrong Reaches Global Audiences

MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
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Yue Chen Has Front Row Seat on US-China Trade

Over the spring, I served as a communications intern at the US-China Business Council (USCBC) in Washington, DC. USCBC is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of approximately 200 American companies that do business with China. Its mission is to expand the US-China commercial relationship to the benefit of its membership and, more broadly, the US economy.

Based on my background in international relations and public relations, I helped the communications & publications team at USCBC with daily news updates and social media management. I also helped interview Chinese scholars and translate documents into English for the publication in USCBC’s digital magazine – the China Business Review. Since the U.S. levied its first round of punitive tariffs in 2018, tensions have emerged between the U.S. and China, becoming a major global concern. It was a valuable opportunity for me to intern at USCBC around this period of time as I was able to obtain the first-hand materials and pay close attention to US-China trade issues.

In addition, I was very fortunate to have joined and helped with USCBC’s events and gained precious insights on US-China relations. When Chinese Premier Liu He visited Washington, DC for trade talks with President Trump on January 31, USCBC held its premier conference – Forecast 2019 – on China’s business and political environment and discussed the prospects of trade negotiations. On the Forecast, experts from think tanks, the US Senate and the US House of Representatives talked about the most focused on issues about US-China relations such as cybersecurity, intellectual property, tariffs and subsidies, etc. USCBC also co-hosted the US-China Innovation Forum with CSIS, where American and Chinese representatives from industry, finance, government and think tanks discussed how to best foster, protect, and advance innovation.

Thanks to the Maxwell DC Program, I am here to pursue my public diplomacy practice at the heart of global policy in Washington, DC. Interning at USCBC was a great chance for me to explore US-China trade relations and lay the foundation for my future career.

USCBC Forcast 2019 conference

Yue Chen is a recent alum of the joint MAIR/MSPR degree where she studied at the prestigious Maxwell and Newhouse Schools at Syracuse University. She formerly interned at Temasek’s Stewardship Asia Centre through SU’s Summer Internships in Singapore program.

MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
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