Summer

Karen Reitan Learns How Council of Europe Functions

This summer, I spent my time interning at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The Council is an intergovernmental organization with 47 member states, working to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law within its jurisdiction and beyond. As I am currently working toward master’s degrees in both Public Administration and International Relations this presented an opportunity for me to gain insight into both my areas of interest simultaneously. Due to its sheer size the Council is a highly bureaucratic body, with slow progress. At the same time, however, this bureaucracy is also what allows the organization to be effective once decisions have been made, and the European Court of Human Rights allows for actual adjudication of breaches to agreements.

Karen Reitan in Strasbourg
Karen Reitan in Petit France, Strasbourg

My main work assignment focused on various research projects relating to human rights, with my main emphasis being on environmental issues as these relate to human rights. I also wrote some speech drafts, proofread documents to be sent out and published, and took notes at different meetings. The most valuable experience for me during my internship, however, was the opportunity to experience how the organization functions. In Europe it is extremely rare for internships to be unpaid, so as I did not get any monetary compensation for my contributions it was important to my supervisor that I get as much out of my experience as possible. She thus both allowed and encouraged me to attend meetings and sessions during which I did not have work to do per say, but where I could observe and learn. To me as a student this is far more valuable than a minimum wage salary.

Karen Reitan with a coworker at the Council of Europe
Karen Reitan with a coworker at the Council of Europe

I would recommend this internship experience to anyone who has the opportunity to apply, especially if this is a field you wish to enter into upon graduation. As an international student I did not initially consider going “abroad” to be a priority for me, but this allowed me to gain more connections in Europe and has been a great improvement to be experience.

Karen Reitan, Welcome Event
Karen Reitan at Bienvenue à Strasbourg (Welcome to Strasbourg) in the Palais Rohan, where professionals from the city and people who newly moved there come together
Karen Reitan with her wonderful host mother in Strasbourg
Karen Reitan with her wonderful host mother in Strasbourg

 

Karen Reitan in Liechtenstein
Karen Reitan in Liechtenstein
Karen Reitan, Swiss Alps, Hiking
Karen Reitan on an overnight hiking trip in the Swiss Alps
MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
SU’s Strasbourg Center
All Global Programs

Emma Diltz at Department of State’s Press Office

The Office of Press Relations at the U.S. Department of State is the hub of media activity at the Department. It works directly with journalists to disseminate the Department and Secretary’s messages to the media and the public concerning U.S. foreign policy. It also helps staff the Secretary’s events and travel, whether domestic or abroad.

As an intern, I’ve had the opportunity to really get to know how the Department functions. I also helped staff multiple events, such as the roll out of the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, and the 230th anniversary of the Department of State. While working, I have met dignitaries from different countries and helped members of the press gain access to cover events.

Emma Diltz had the opportunity to staff the 230th anniversary celebration where Dr. Henry Kissinger spoke

While these major events were interesting to experience, and they change based on administration, the main day-to-day functions are consistent and what keeps the office running. Much of my job consisted of working with journalists to understand the major topics of the day and delivering those queries to the various bureaus’ Public Affairs Officers. They delivered their guidance to the spokesperson on those queries so then she is ready to answer them at the podium on press briefing days. On days the spokesperson and Secretary traveled, I compiled the virtual guidance into a memo and sent it to the officer director, who delivered it to the spokesperson.

As the press office, it’s the outreach team’s job to set up interviews for the Secretary. This includes knowing who is interviewing him. Part of my job as an intern was to write short biographies of journalists who were interviewing him, and draft that into a memo for his front office.

Emma Diltz, Department of State, Press Brieffings room
A regular part of Emma Diltz’s internship was helping and attending Department Press Briefings.

Much of my internship allowed me the opportunity to shadow press officers and understand the rotations they do in their jobs. Each officer has a different task every day, and through my time at the Department, I now have a better understanding of each. The Fourth Estate continues to be one of the most important pillars of democracy, even when leadership doesn’t always see it that way.

While we’re in a tumultuous time with the way the government interacts with the media, my few months at the Department of State Office of Press Relations showed that, regardless of the message coming from the heads of the departments, there are truly good people doing important work in these agencies. The collaborative effort by the press office and the journalists showed that there doesn’t need to be animosity between the groups, and there’s much more room for understanding than it looks like from the outside.

Emma Diltz is currently finishing a joint Master of Arts in International Relations and Master of Science in Public Relations degree at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools.

MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools
Maxwell-in-Washington Program
All Global Programs

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
All Global Programs

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
Maxwell-in-Washington Program
All Global Programs

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
All Global Programs

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
All Global Programs

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
Maxwell-in-Washington Program
All Global Programs

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
All Global Programs

Michelle Herr Helps Presidential Appointees Become Ready to Govern

I spent my time at the Partnership for Public Service in the organization’s Center for Presidential Transition. Launched in 2016, the Center’s purpose is to support the safe and effective transition of power from one administration to the next. It does this by developing tools, sharing best practices and connecting transition subject matter experts to inform transition team planning, and supporting the outgoing administration and federal agencies in managing their part of this transition. The Center also keeps track of issues that impact how an administration might execute its agenda, focuses on federal management issues and provides guidance for Congress, presidential candidates, and senior political appointees to lead and manage government. My responsibilities included researching and analyzing federal management issues, assisting with research about presidential transitions, and supporting the coordination and execution of Partnership events.

Within the Center for Presidential Transition is the Ready to Govern program. Ready to Govern assists the presidential appointees in navigating the transition process, engages Congress and promotes presidential transition reforms, develops management recommendations to address government’s operational challenges, and trains political appointees to lead effectively in their new positions. Over the course of my internship, I helped develop a new training module for political appointees. The module was piloted twice to a small group of advisors and current presidential appointees to ensure that the content is engaging, impactful, and strategic.

Lastly, the Center is housed within the Partnership’s Government Affairs team in the organization. During my internship, I had the opportunity to visit with congressional staff and members of Congress to talk about the Partnership’s priorities and what role Congress can play in transforming government.

One of the highlights of my internship was attending the annual Service to America Medals gala, referred to as Sammies. The Partnership for Public Service honors outstanding workers in the federal government who are nominated by their peers. In all, the event recognized nine award winners out of 28 nominees surrounded by top government officials, private-sector partners of the organization, the Partnership’s board members, and the families of the award-winners. This year, the Partnership presented the first Spirit of Service Award to Jeff Bezos to honor individuals in the private sector who are making a positive difference in government. Sammies was a great experience to be a part of – it is organized and run entirely in-house by the Partnership and accurately honors the spirit of public service.

Michelle Herr (4th from left), Maxwell Dean David Van Slyke (2nd from left), and Maxwell Faculty Sean O’Keefe (far right) at the Sammies

My time at the Partnership was incredibly rewarding. I learned about critical issues facing the federal government, the amazing things people in government are doing, and leading strategies and methods to mitigate the challenges government experiences.

Michelle Herr is an alum of the MPA/MAIR program. She currently works at Deloitte.

Michelle Herr (top left) with fellow interns
MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
Maxwell-in-Washington Program
All Global Programs

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2018

While MAIR students participate in off-campus internships and global programs, the Maxwell School’s MPA Workshop gives MPA students the chance to work as consultants for a real world client on a team of their peers. Many of these projects work with international entities or focus on serving international communities.

While the number of international projects varies from year to year, MPA students always have a chance to further hone their professional skills with a project to add to their portfolio. In 2018, MPA and joint MPA students worked with the following clients with a global perspective.

Client Project
Global FoodBanking Network Emerging Markets – Food Systems Analysis
Hopeprint Empowering Resettled Refugees to Thrive
InterFaith Works of Central New York Qualitative and Quantitative research report concerning economic and workforce issues facing low-income immigrants (including refugees, migrants and immigrants)
RAND Corporation, National Security Research Division North Korea Strategy for Security on the Future of the Korean Peninsula
RAND Corporation, National Security Research Division Middle Eastern Rivalries and the Future of the Region
Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment Assessment of RISE monitoring and evaluation procedures
U.S. Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program A Pilot Community Policing/Community Prosecution Project for Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Kenya
United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS Ghana Suppliers Sustainability Initiative

For the 2018 MPA Workshop, students used ranked preference voting to narrow a larger list of projects down to 18. Then, students ranked their top four projects from the final list. These rankings were used to assign students to teams according to their project rankings. This method saw 97% of students receive their first or second choice project. MPA students were able to add a global perspective to their degree with these projects, further enhanced by taking a variety of international relations courses at Maxwell.

RAND and IDA project teams traveling to Washington, DC to deliver presentations on their projects.
Project teams arrive at RAND to give presentations.
RAND and IDA Team Members, 2018. Left to Right: Andrew Sander, Max Tucker, Matt Heggy, Sam Friedman, Tim Schmidt, Ryan Pensyl, Ryan Gross, Phil Porter, Taylor Hart-McGonigle, Chih Yun Huang, Minyang Wang, James Heller

Featured image of the Globe by Andrew Smith from Flickr. Creative Commons.

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2017

Internationally Focused Projects for MPA Students, 2016 & 2015