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  • Emily 8:30 pm on April 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, , ,   

    The Government Culture 

    Yet another incredibly unique aspect of the Department of State is the politics.  Typically, politics are ignored or avoided in the workplace, but there is no escaping them in my office. The State Department’s overall role is to implement Foreign Policy. The President of the United States sets the Foreign Policy agenda. Since the President is elected, the agenda for the State Department is ultimately set by the public voters, making the work that these men and women are doing political at its core. I had the opportunity to discuss this with the Director of my office. I asked specifically about US action in the Middle East for the past 10 years. My Director explained that there was an atmosphere of confusion and disbelief when the events that led to the war began to unfold. Political disagreements ran deep. Ultimately, he explained, the members of the Department of State, both Civil and Foreign Service, hold their responsibility to fully support our men and women in the field, on the ground, and around the world over political differences. The best they can do is to do their jobs as well as they can and serve the people that are counting on them.

    Secretary Clinton delivers remarks to the 2012 Chiefs of Mission Conference, March 13, 2012. State Department Photo

    Working in the public sector and specifically in foreign policy offers a unique opportunity to explore the world and the changing nature of global diplomacy.  In the past year, we have seen changes in world power that we once thought would never come.  The Arab Spring has shaken the Middle East to its core.  The pressure of a globalizing world also adds a new dimension to working in Foreign Policy.  I found an excelent examination of this paradox in Fareed Zakaria’s article, “The Future of American Power: How America Can Survive the Rise of the Rest.” The article in full has to be purchased to be viewed, but a summary can be found on the foreign affairs web archives.  Zakaria says we are finding ourselves in the middle of “the third great power shift of the modern era – the rise of the rest.”  Much of the Foreign Policy of the Obama administration has involved measures of inclusion rather than exclusion, and cooperation rather than pure competition.  This attitude trickles down through the policy makers and the policy takers such as the employees of the State Department.  The United States is reaching out to developing and rising nations, which I believe is creating a very positive global dialogue.  Zakaria discusses the power of the US to “stabilize the emerging world order by bringing in the new rising nations, ceding some of its own power and perquisites, and accepting a world with a diversity of voices and viewpoints.”  I believe this is true, this is the direction that US Foreign Policy is taking currently, and being a part of the work force that is directly involved in those efforts is challenging and inspiring, which is exactly what I want for my future career.

  • ky1217a 6:10 pm on March 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, ,   

    Internship Perks 

    For those who did not know, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cube were in Georgetown quite a few days ago! Part of my internship entails working at free screenings that various movie theatres in the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas hold. In order to promote movies, it’s essential to get the word of mouth out about the film. Anyway, the three men made an appearance to promote their new film. The movie was hilarious and I highly recommend going to see it (although I am not allowed to disclose the name of the film).

    Since I intern at an amazing company, my friends and I were able to get great seats. They let us go in before the line of people filtered in hurring to get their seats. This is one of the perks about being in publicity and promotions.

    One of the students that I had promoted the film to ended up showing at the screening with his friends which made me feel like I had been successful in getting people there; it was a nice feeling.

  • Emily 6:07 pm on March 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, ,   

    How to Be a Better Intern … Without Superpowers 

    After only a few weeks at my internship, I realized something: If I wanted to be a better intern, I needed to read minds.

    I had just finished making a 150 page textbook for one of the courses that my office runs for retiring Foreign Service Officers when my boss came in for a “final check” before sending it off to the printer.  As I scrolled through each page, my boss gave me tweaks and corrections, muttering things like “Oh, yeah, he wanted us to change that after last year’s presentation.”  At first, I was impressed that my boss could remember all of these important little things, but I quickly became nervous.  I realized that the only way I could do a better job was to anticipate the changes that my boss was going to make, and since they were not written down anywhere, that meant reading her mind.

    Even though I knew that goal was a bit of a stretch, I tried to figure out what I could anticipate in my internship.

    In order to anticipate tricky situations and avoid wasting everyone’s time trying to fix things and tracking down help, I learned to fix the copy machine when it jams.  Making copies is not a huge part of my job, but because of the nature of our work, everyone, even my supervisor, ends up spending a few minutes a day wrestling with the machine.

    Office Space Copy Machine

    The wrong way to fix the copy machine. http://www.moviefanatic.com, from the movie Office Space

    Now, this isn’t just a little desktop printer, this is a piece of equipment that is 5 times my size and probably doubles as a tank.  It’s big, it’s bulky, it’s loud, and it is intimidating.  But I knew I could not avoid it, so I took the first paper jam I came across and fixed it.  It was frustrating, but now I know I don’t have to bother anyone else with paper jams.  It also felt good to take initiative and do something about a minor problem.

  • Emily 2:08 am on March 12, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, full time, , ,   

    The Internship Offer That Changed My Graduation Date 

    Registering for classes has never been a stressful affair for me.  I’m the kind of student that always has an updated 4-year plan, keeps google calendars color coded, and knows what classes she wants four weeks before registration.  This gave me the opportunity to graduate a semester early.  This past December, my perfectly scheduled world shattered.

    When I first received the internship offer from the State Department, I called my supervisor and I asked what the typical schedule for a full-time student intern was. “Well, um, did you mention to HR that you wanted to be part time?”  A wave of fear washed over me.  Not wanting to lose my internship before it even started, I quickly said, “No, but my schedule is still up in the air, so I could possibly be full time, I’m just trying to gather as much information as possible.”  Phew. Close save.  My supervisor went on to describe why they are looking for full time interns.  After discussing the work load and the types of projects that really do require a substantial time commitment, she added, “And on rare occasions, there might be a chance for you to meet the Secretary of State, and it would be a shame if you had to miss that.”  That got to me.

    Entrance to FSI

    Posing at the Diplomatic Entrance to the Foreign Service Institute

    OK, that wasn’t the only reason.  The opportunities that the internship program offered sounded incredible.  After meeting with my academic advisor, career advisor, and financial advisors (my parents), we all agreed that this is the kind of internship that would be worth pushing back my graduation date and staying for the full four years.

    Sure enough, within the first few weeks, I attended the Appeal of Conscience where I heard Secretary Clinton address the role of spirituality and religion in International Relations and Public Diplomacy.  I also was invited to sit in on one of the classes for the new Foreign Service Officers.  I learned about Security Overseas and how to travel smart and live smart in a foreign environment and culture.  These classes and events have given me incredible opportunities to see my International Relations studies in practice in the real world.

    Secretary Clinton at the Appeal of Conscience Event by State Dept Image / Feb 01, 2012

    If you’re considering an internship opportunity with a high time commitment like this, my advice is to look at all of your options, consider the pros and cons, and talk to your advisors, supervisors, and parents.  The more information you have and the sooner you start planning, the better.

    • Francine Blume 2:23 pm on March 13, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Really good advice, Emily. In life, it’s important to be flexible and know a good opportunity when you see one.

      • John Charles 3:56 pm on March 13, 2012 Permalink

        Yes, this experience will open up new vistas and give you a rich perspective for future decisions. Keep us posted on how things develop!

  • Emily 11:45 pm on March 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, , , , U.S. Department of State   

    Let the Bureaucracy Begin! 

    Hello! My name is Emily and this is my first post for the AU Intern Blog.

    I’m a junior in SIS and this semester I am geting a sneak peak at the real world. I’m interning at the US Department of State in the Foreign Service Institute, 38 hours a week, and taking classes in the evenings. Having never had an internship before, I was a little unsure of what I had gotten myself into.

    I was supposed to attend the State Department Intern Orientation on a Monday, but they emailed us that Sunday night and told us that freezing rain was in the forecast, so Orientation was pushed to Tuesday. Of course, since this is the Federal Government, that messed everything up. Instead of one day of orientation, I had three.

    I work at the Foreign Service Campus outside of Arlington, but my Orientation was at the main building downtown. There are four entrances to the main building. We had specific instructions to go to entrence #2. The guard at entrence #2 told the crowd of interns that had gathered to go to entrence #1. When we got to entrence #1, they told us to go to entrence #2. We ended up being held in the loby of entrence #1 until someone from the orientation program came to claim us… at entrence #2. By the time we all got into the building, we were 20 minutes late. Now, I’m a pretty punctual person, so being late for my first day would have normally been very stressful. Surprisingly, the bothersome bureaucracy was very calming. I laughed at the all-too-true stereotype and relaxed.

    For information on the State Department Internship Program, click here!

    • Francine Blume 1:15 pm on March 8, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hope things go more smoothly from here on out! How did you get your internship? And what exactly will you be doing?

  • ky1217a 12:54 am on March 7, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, ,   

    Getting Places 

    Hi AU Community!

    This is my first post for the Intern Blog. I’m currently a Junior in SOC and I’m majoring in Film and Media with a minor in Marketing. I am currently interning at Allied-THA in the Farragut North area. It has been an amazing experience so far. Every one in the office has been supportive, energetic and really nice.

    Although I have spent my last three years in the DC area at AU, I have only ever taken the metro. However, this year I learned about taking the Metro Bus to get to where I need to go. Since there have been so many track delays on the red line, I decided to give the metro bus a go. After a couple of times it was comforting to know that DC has great public transportation in comparison to other cities. It’s great to have these options as a college student.

    I had to flyer in Georgetown one day for my internship and I was not sure about the best way to get there. Tip: If you take the Circulator from the Dupont metro to Georgetown it is only $1!

    Anyway, if you’re ever in a rut don’t be afraid to take the bus from AU to Dupont or from the Tenley Metro to Columbia Heights (which a lot of people surprisingly do not know about).

    Until next time,


    • Francine Blume 2:04 pm on March 7, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great transportation tip! The buses are our unsung heroes and a lot of times they’re a lot easier to take in the train.

  • Claire Wolfe 6:11 pm on March 6, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , AU Interns, ,   

    Live, Learn, and Intern 

    After a lot of confusion, stress, and heart-to-hearts with various friends and family members, I declared my major at the end of last semester.  I decided to set my sights on a B.S. in Economics.  I really enjoy learning about economics and the information is so relevant to every day life, so I figured that it would be a good fit for me.  Plus, I’ve always secretly wanted to be a high-powered CFO and this track could lead me in the right direction. 

    I should probably mention that I seriously considered a broad range of other subjects before settling on economics.  These include, but are not limited to, anthropology, psychology, biology, and business administration.  To say the least, I’m a little bit indecisive.  To make it worse, I have no idea what I want to do with my life.  Declaring my major, I thought, would put me one step closer to figuring it out.  At the beginning of this semester, I was beyond excited to start my internship and, hopefully, really enjoy my work.

    Internships give you a real-life experience.  You may not be doing really intense work, but working in the same office as people with power, waking up early, and being in a professional setting make any internship a valuable experience.  You learn so much, about the work and about yourself.  At my internship, I’ve realized that this really isn’t something that I would want to do for the rest of my life.  I’m not really interested in working at a desk or in front of a computer every day and I really don’t like math very much.  These are realizations that, sure, may put me back a little further while figuring out what I want to do, but make me a little more confident that what I end up doing will be the best for me.  This internship is a great experience for me and I truly value the opportunity.  Maybe it will help me find what I really do like to do.  Fingers crossed.

    • Francine Blume 4:55 pm on March 7, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Did an internship help you decide on your major? I have to say that the cool thing about economics is that you can study the economics of anything. You will be an expert and you will be highly desired. You can absolutely integrate economics and an apology because anthropology is the study of culture and our culture decides what’s of value. There’s a huge amount of psychology that goes and economics, again understanding why people value something and what moves. Consumer confidence, etc. Biology is a huge field and the economic implications of biological research are even bigger a solid business administrator really needs to understand economics in order to see their place in the world.

  • Sophie Grumelard 2:40 am on November 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , AU Interns, ,   

    Network, network, network! With anyone and everyone 

    When you start working somewhere, it is a very good idea to get to know who works there, and what they do. So, go to company events, introduce yourself, ask questions, and follow-up! And find the connections! You know this whole theory about six degrees of separation? Well, it feels kind of like that working downtown: everyone knows everyone. For one of my school assignments (conflict analysis class), I decided to present a conflict analysis model, MPICE (Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments), which was produced in part by USIP. So, I looked USIP’s directory, and I realized that the main contributor to this model, Dr. Dziedzic, worked on the same floor as mine just a few doors away. I emailed him, he got back to me the next day, and we met to talk about the model. It made my research project so much more meaningful and interesting! Two weeks later, while attending my weekly seminars for the UNA-NCA program (UN Association of the National Capital Area), we had a guest speaker, and when I talked to him at the end of the seminar, I found he knew Mr. Dziedzic… it’s a small world, but the only way you’ll find out is if you network. So, say hi to people in the stairways, at the cafeteria, and find out what they do. But make sure they also get to hear who you are, and give them a good reason for them to remember your name!

  • Sophie Grumelard 2:25 am on November 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, conflict management, conflict resolution, Lund,   

    Sometimes, scanning is not a bad thing! 

    So, the other day I had to learn how to scan something, using one of those monster-Canon machines (yes, I know, scanning is easy…when you are not using a machine that has 30 different options on it). Scanning, copying and everything that falls in the category are usually the things you hope to stay away from at an internship, right? Well, that’s what I thought too, until….it allowed me to introduce myself to someone I really admire. You see, I work right across the hall from Dr. Michael Lund, a prominent researcher and practitioner in the field of conflict management (conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in one’s environment), and I have read some of his scholarly articles for class. And it just happened that Dr. Lund needed to scan something that day, so I offered to show him how to work some magic on these monster-machines. So, we got to introduce ourselves, talk briefly, and well now…he greets me with my first name, and I talk to him about his readings. I never thought that scanning would be such a valuable skill! So, a piece of advice: never underestimate the power of your most basic skills;)

  • Emily Roseman 1:17 am on November 2, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: AU Interns, , , , , music, , ,   

    Get by with a little help… 

    I think some of the most rewarding encounters at my internship have been with co-workers that have offered their own advice as to how I can perform better, or how I can even be successful in my current and future careers. I have had the pleasure of working in a smaller department which has its great advantages of taking on my own tasks, but also asking for help when I need it, and seeking the guidance and advice from more senior members of my team.

    I am lucky to share my experience with a current professor of mine and he urged me to get to know a few members of the video team personally. I now certainly understand why he suggested this. He worked closely with the two members that I now feel very comfortable asking for help or even asking for their own opinions on work and career tips.

    (More …)

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