MAIR

Bart Kassel at the Nature Conservancy in DC

One of the most pressing issues facing the international community is how to address the impact of climate change. Rising oceans, food and freshwater insecurity, urbanization, and many other issues prompt global action to preserve the planet for future generations.

The weight of this issue led me to pursue a new role this Fall with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global non-profit focused on environmental issues in 79 countries and all 50 states. The Worldwide Office in D.C. coordinates the organization’s work which brings together scientists, policy experts, and local leaders to tackle climate change, protect lands and waters, provide food and water sustainably, build healthy cities, and connect people and nature. TNC is a great place to work with smart eco-geeks, environmental policy wonks, and other upbeat and motivated colleagues.

My responsibilities as a Contract Specialist focus on ensuring money-out agreements for TNC’s global initiatives adhere to legal standards and TNC policies. The day-to-day of the job has required me to guide program teams through the contract and grant-writing processes, review and approve agreements, manage extensive records, and more. Some of the projects I supported include: mitigating the impact of climate change on indigenous communities in the Amazon; advocating for international action on environmental issues at UN summits; and cleaning up polluted river basins in Latin America. One recent work day began with me video chatting a team in South Africa, consulting with our legal office about a Chinese project, and finishing the day by guiding a West Coast office through a contract revision.

The role has been very satisfying—serving as an expert point of contact for staff around the globe addressing a large problem in diverse and meaningful ways.

Bart Kassel is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He also interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Social Media in summer 2019.

Bart Kassel at the Nature Conservancy
Bart Kassel at the Nature Conservancy
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Bart Kassel at DoS Office of Global Social Media

Askar Salikhov, Conflict & Stabilization at DoS

For three months, I interned at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) in Washington, D.C. CSO’s mission is to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflict that undermines U.S. national interests. The bureau implements this mission in two complementary ways: through data-driven analysis and forward deploying stabilization advisors to conflict zones. The objective is to inform U.S. strategy, policy, and programs on conflict prevention and stabilization.

During my internship, I’ve worked with civil servants, foreign service officers, and other experts to manage programming and provide analytical products relating to Ukraine. I have drafted documents, collated trip books, and briefed principals ahead of important interagency meetings with high-level interlocutors. Additionally, I have produced research on electoral processes and violence in post-conflict environments. Finally, my office relied on my assistance for logistical support: organizing meetings, taking notes, writing readouts, and managing tasks.

My objectives for my internship were to get exposure to public sector work, connect with conflict practitioners and grow my network of colleagues, learn new skills relating to project design, management, and monitoring, and have a positive impact on the mission of CSO. Looking back at my experience, interning for the U.S. State Department has shaped my perception of civil service in a positive way. I hope to begin my professional career within the public sector, working on supporting and delivering exciting development programs that advance the interests of the United States.

Askar Salikhov is recent graduate of the MAIR program. In pursuit of his degree, he also completed an internship with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana during summer 2019.

Askar Salikhov poses from the speaker’s balcony at the U.S.
Askar Salikhov poses from the speaker’s balcony at the U.S. Capitol Building during a work-sponsored tour.
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Askar Salikhov Opens a Door to Fieldwork

Johnathan Medina, Tech Advocacy in DC

This fall I had the opportunity to intern with a trade group called the Internet Association (IA). IA focuses on advocating for its member companies in Washington D.C. and state governments throughout the country. IA’s member companies include some of the largest technology firms in the world like Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. My co-workers had all worked in high levels of government from being a Chief of Staff to Nancy Pelosi, to running multi-million-dollar digital technology acquisition programs. Being around such talented and knowledgeable people helps you better understand the reality of different career paths.

Johnathan Medina
Johnathan Medina

My role on the team was as a Government Relations intern where I worked with the Policy and GR teams to analyze legislation, cover hearings, and produce reports that would be sent to policy professionals at our member companies. This was an eye-opening experience being involved directly in Washington D.C. politics and learning how policy is developed and advocated from a business perspective. Most of my portfolio was working on Cloud-Computing technology and the discussion surrounding its regulation for financial services and institutions. Through this project I was able to learn more about the industry, which was very important in helping me land my future job. One of the skills I developed strongly from the experience is being able to read legal language and think with the mind of a lawyer. Compliance is a mix of policy and law and it is a field I am excited to be part of as it grows.

My personal time in DC was very rewarding as well since the city offers a nearly non-stop slate of activities. I enjoyed being able to attend events in DC from the numerous organizations and the opportunity to connect with other alums is unparalleled. The experience was also helpful in discovering what you actually enjoy doing on a day to day basis which is more valuable than anything else in the end.

Johnathan Medina is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He also interned last summer at the European Institute of Asian Studies as part of the The European and Global Internship Program in Brussels.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Johnathan Medina Researches Fintech in Southeast Asia for the EU

Adam Miller Sharpens Skills at Fund for Peace

This past summer I worked as a research assistant at Fund for Peace (FFP). FFP was founded in 1957 with the primary focus of nuclear non-proliferation. As the Cold War came to a close, the world faced new threats to security. In light of this, FFP shifted focuses and now addresses human security, state fragility, and human rights. FFP conducts a number of projects aimed at improving the resiliency of countries and communities impacted by conflict. Currently, many of these projects focus in the geographical region of West Africa, but FFP conducts work on conflicts around the world.

During my time at Fund for Peace I primarily served in a research role. This involved composing memos on aspects of conflicts we are working on, coding early warning data, and looking for trends to explain the emergence of different forms of conflict. Additionally, I drafted reports for partner international organizations on the risks and vulnerabilities faced by individual countries. One of the best aspects of my time at Fund for Peace was being able to work on a wide variety of topics and projects at any given time. During my time at FFP I was exposed to a wide variety of security challenges present in a variety of locations.

My time at Fund for Peace is one that I will look back on fondly, and an experience that has sharpened specific skills that I will pull on in the security field. As many times as you might write a briefing at Maxwell, nothing is a substitute for delivering a briefing in a professional setting. My time at FFP has allowed me to sharpen the skills that Maxwell began to provide me with, and it has given me valuable knowledge about professional opportunities in security outside of the government.

Adam Miller is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. Not only did he intern at Fund for Peace, but completed an internship at the Department of State during his final fall semester.

Adam Miller, Fund for Peace
Adam Miller (2nd from R) with FFP interns and staff
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Alejandro Turino, Learning International Development through Theory and Practice

Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. They help people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, and save lives in disasters.

The Pan American Development Foundation assists vulnerable and excluded people and communities in the Americas to achieve sustainable economic and social progress, strengthen their communities and civil society, promote democratic participation and inclusion, and prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.

This summer I interned with Oxfam and Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). Both organizations have taught me a lot, not only about international development, but more importantly, about work culture in Washington DC. Since starting my work, I have been offered networking opportunities I could have never imagined receiving in places other than DC. For example, since PADF is the development arm of the Organization of American States (OAS), I interacted with multiple diplomats and private sector personnel from across Latin America.

My work with Oxfam allowed me to meet numerous practitioners of international development, including top officials from some of the world’s best-known NGOs. Oxfam also opened my awareness towards the impact of development. My role as a research assistant allowed me to gain insight on how international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) operate both internally and externally in the quest to address global societal problems. I investigated how Oxfam and other organizations see their role within the international community, and what their views are on what these roles should be. The position allowed me to learn about the field of development on-the-job, which was extremely beneficial since I did not have a lot of experience in the industry beforehand.

As part of PADF, I assisted staff in conducting research, developing methodologies and communications products, and managing projects for our Caribbean programs. PADF offered a hands-on, multicultural environment where I gained practical program management and implementation skills and a collegial atmosphere of professionals dedicated to creating a hemisphere of opportunity for all.

Alejandro Turino at Oxfam America
Alejandro Turino at Oxfam America
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

 

Stephanie Prochaska Experiences Realities of Immigration in France

In the summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to work under the French organization of Le Centre d’Accueil et d’Orientation. Also known as CAO, this organization’s mission is to host and provide resources to incoming asylum-seekers from across the globe. These resources range from assistance with paperwork to accommodation by temporary housing.

Throughout this experience, my activities ranged from day to day. On days in the office, I observed meetings between the social workers and the asylum-seekers finishing up their refugee status paper, and when no meetings took place I focused my time on research for the organization, from creating graphics of CAO’s demography to researching the conventions and laws CAO is to follow. Many other days I was not directly in the office, and these days I assisted in accommodation site visits, shopping for supplies, or even making organic and easy cleaning supplies for the asylum-seekers to use.

One particular day of importance during my internship was June 20th, which across the globe is the day set aside to celebrate refugees and their bravery. For International Refugees Day, CAO partnered with other asylum-seeker and refugee organizations across Strasbourg to host a celebration for all asylum-seekers and refugees around the area, completely free of charge. At this event, we provided food, drink, games for children, music, and even a hot air balloon for the refugees and families to ride in! This celebration allowed me to see how beautiful the world can be when we cooperate toward one cause or event.

My internship at CAO was both humbling and rewarding, and it assisted me in both perfecting my French but also experiencing the realities of immigration work and asylum. I gained a better understanding of international, supranational, and national laws and norms regarding the rights of refugees and the legal framework in France for seeking asylum. With this knowledge in hand, I gained a better comparative understanding by setting French and U.S. policy side-by-side to see where each differs, as well as finding common ground. Overall, this experience was academically and professionally enriching.

Making cleaning supplies with asylum seekers
Making cleaning supplies with asylum seekers
Laundry detergent mixture
Laundry detergent mixture
Stephanie Prochaska Making Cleaning Supplies with Asylum Seekers
Stephanie Prochaska Making Cleaning Supplies with Asylum Seekers at CAO
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
SU’s Strasbourg Center
All Global Programs

Bart Kassel at DoS Office of Global Social Media

This summer, I interned with the Department of State in the Office of Global Social Media in Washington, D.C. The office is responsible for communicating U.S. foreign policy through direct engagement with millions on digital platforms. Over the course of the summer, the frenetic pace of the office and news cycle was both exciting and exhausting.

Bart Kassel with fellow interns
Bart Kassel (back, 7th from left) with fellow interns

My responsibilities included managing social accounts, drafting copy, editing media, and much more as current events demanded. One of my main projects was leading the implementation of a new content calendar and work-flow tracking system. Another regular responsibility had me editing video from press briefings and other official events for real-time broadcasting on social channels. Attention to detail, careful planning, close team-work, and swift action were my keys to success.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo cuts a ceremonial cake with former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger at an event celebrating the 230th anniversary of the State Department.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo cuts a ceremonial cake with former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger at an event celebrating the 230th anniversary of the State Department

The practical experience I developed with the Global Social Media team has taught me with new skills to go along with my Maxwell classes. I was able to apply theory from my Advanced Public Diplomacy class through regular communications activities. My statistics class prepared me to analyze metrics and provide data-driven insights to my colleagues about which types of content was performing well. Management classes that stressed theories of change and log frames proved valuable for my role in planning meetings. Having an opportunity to intern during my MAIR program has also provided me with many new connections.

As an intern, I had the opportunity to network with amazing staff from unique backgrounds. Foreign and Civil Servants, contractors, and political appointees all contribute to the broad and unrelenting demands of diplomacy. I spoke with PhD-holders advancing environmentally friendly mining practices; foreign aid administrators engaging with grant recipients via foreign languages; exchange program leads exploring creative ways to meet policy goals; and many more inspiring people. One thing remained clear—all shared a deep commitment to public service.

DOS Event
DOS Event
Bart Kassel atop one of the State Department buildings in Washington, D.C.
Bart Kassel atop one of the State Department buildings in Washington, D.C.
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Askar Salikhov Opens a Door to Fieldwork

For two months, I interned at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Accra, Ghana. IOM is a UN-related agency that manages migration globally. Its mission is to promote safe and orderly migration that benefits all. Many of its responsibilities include assisting government agencies with border management, raising awareness about the dangers of irregular migration, combating human trafficking, helping migrants return to the country of origin, and other activities. The mission in Ghana focuses particularly on child trafficking in the Volta Lake, bringing back migrants stuck in Libya and Niger, and building resilience among communities against push and pull factors of irregular migration.

Representatives from the University of Ghana Center for Migration Studies meet with Syracuse University students
Representatives from the University of Ghana Center for Migration Studies meet with Syracuse University students to exchange information about ongoing project relating to migration in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa

During my internship, I’ve worked with two colleagues from Syracuse University, Esther Chung and Jingxuan Wang, on two major assignments relating to child trafficking and assisted voluntary return and reintegration. Our team worked with project managers and assistants to collect visibility materials from victims of trafficking and returnees. Our purpose was to take their experiences and produce engaging narratives that help inform parents and potential migrants about the dangers of child trafficking in the Volta Lake and irregular migration through the Mediterranean corridor. Additionally, we had the chance to take part in a youth and migration conference, income-generating brainstorm sessions with community leaders, and one-on-one meetings with academic partners at a local university.

From the beginning, my objectives were to get exposure to fieldwork activities, connect with practitioners within the milieu of migration and grow my network, learn new skills relating to project design, development, and implementation, and have a positive impact on the mission of IOM and its beneficiaries. I believe that my time with IOM has opened a door for me in development fieldwork, created lasting relationships with colleagues from all over the world, taught me the basics of project conceptualization, and left me with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Askar Salikhov is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He completed his degree in Washington, DC while interning for the U.S. Department of State. Askar was part of the last class to participate in the Survey of Current Issues in African Migration program, but IOM Ghana will still consider students as interns based off their experiences working with Maxwell students for a number of years.

Askar Salikhov, Jingxuan Wang, and Esther Chung pose for a photograph with project managers Akpene Amenumey and Victoria Klimova, project assistant Daniel Tagoe, and IOM intern Bowie Ko on the last day of the internship
SU Students Askar Salikhov (center), Jingxuan Wang (5th from L), and Esther Chung (6th from L) pose for a photograph with IOM project managers Akpene Amenumey (L) and Victoria Klimova (2nd from L), project assistant Daniel Tagoe (3rd from L), and IOM intern Bowie Ko (far R) on the last day of the internship
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
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Nick Rogers, Intel and Strategic Legal Services in DC

Dentons is the largest law firm in the world, employing more lawyers than any other firm. With branches and partner firms all over the globe, the company’s interests are broad and varied. The Washington, DC office houses the government contracts, public policy, intellectual property, health care, energy, and corporate representation practices, among others. The firm also provides business intelligence and strategic services for a variety of clients.

Nick Rogers in front of Denton's Washington office
Nick Rogers in front of Denton’s Washington office

As an intern in the Intelligence and Strategic Services group, I was granted a view of national security and international relations unlike anything I had experienced before. Our group creates a variety of products for our clients, and the work can best be described as “taking the pulse of Washington.” We cover several pertinent topics, track the conversations being had in Congress, by the Administration, and various non-governmental organizations around town. I would regularly be dispatched to events around town, and after taking notes I would write up an analysis of the event for the clients. One of the most exciting aspects of my internship was seeing the finished analysis that I had written and knowing that important people would be reading it.

The work fell into three broad categories: analysis, investigations, and special data-driven projects. Analysis falls into the description of “taking the pulse” of the city, and in some ways the special projects did as well. I took full control of a few different data-driven projects, and I’m grateful for the experience I gained at the Maxwell School and iSchool during undergrad at Syracuse, because it equipped me with the skills I needed to build a few valuable projects from the ground up. Investigations, on the other hand, requires a completely new set of skills to think creatively and solve complex problems. Our group performed due diligence for internal and external clients, providing global insight for mergers and acquisitions decisions. My internship at Dentons was challenging, but incredibly rewarding because I saw the impact my work was having every single day.

Nick Rogers is a fast track BAIR/MAIR students who will complete his bachelor’s in international relations AND his master’s in international relations in five years.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
International Relations Undergraduate Program
  • For more about the Fast Track BAIR/MAIR program, contact the Director of Admissions, Christine Omolino, at comolino@syr.edu
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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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