Internship Blog Series: CSIS

Internship Blog Series: CSIS

My name is Tajah McCray, and I am an M.A. candidate at the School of Diplomacy. In Summer 2021, I was a research intern with the Wadhwani Chair in U.S-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). CSIS is a think tank based out of Washington D.C. and its purpose is to define the future of national security. The Wadhwani team conducts research on how the United States and India can further enhance their cooperation in areas such as defense and economic development, including promoting business engagement between the United States and India, and the environment.

While pursuing my undergraduate degree in International Relations I went on an International Service-Learning Trip to India. I stayed in India for about a month and visited the states of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. During my time in India, and after I returned to the United States, I knew that I wanted to continue my studies in the field of International Relations and further my knowledge of India and South Asia. That experience led me to the Diplomacy program here at Seton Hall University and the Internship with the Wadhwani Chair in U.S-India Policy Studies.

As a research intern, I had multiple tasks but two tasks that I enjoyed were tracking information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in India and writing my own blog post to publish with CSIS. I enjoyed the research because it gave me a chance to explore the healthcare system of another state and I was exposed to different challenges India and other emerging states face regarding global health such as the lack of medical supplies and the impacts of vaccine nationalism.

I was given the freedom to write blog posts for CSIS on topics such as U.S-India relations, Indian economic reforms, innovation, and defense. While I was extremely excited about this opportunity it was challenging. The posts must be written in executive style writing which I am familiar with thanks to two classes I took here at Seton Hall which are Comparative Foreign Policy and the Statecraft of Foreign Policy. During these classes, I was tasked with writing an executive summary on U.S-Saudi Arabia relations and U.S-India relations. As a result, I felt prepared to write my blog post.

I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in learning about India or South/Southeast Asia. During my time at CSIS I covered India’s cooperation with China, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and more. In addition, I expanded my knowledge on many areas related to international relations such as trade, defense, global health, and international law. I also had the opportunity to network with senior officials who are in careers that I potentially would like to enter such as becoming a Research Fellow in South Asia relations at the Heritage Foundation or entering a career in the civil service through the U.S. State Department. This internship has built my confidence and it truly was a great learning experience.

Internship Blog Series: Echo Analytics Group (EAG)

Internship Blog Series: Echo Analytics Group (EAG)

My name is Jocelyn Anderson and, I am a graduate student at the Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations specializing in Global Negotiation & Conflict Management and International Security. I am interning at Echo Analytics Group (EAG), an Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) research and analysis company in Tampa, Florida.

As an intern for EAG, I am learning many new skills that are important for my development as a professional and a student. Many of my projects involve social media research and other sources of publicly available information. This work is particularly useful in my academic research as my Master Research Project focuses on the spread of disinformation campaigns over social media. As technology continues to advance, social media is becoming a useful platform for state and non-state actors to engage in disinformation operations. By learning how to be an effective OSINT analyst, I can understand how these operations are structured and accurately guide my graduate research. This internship also contributes to my future career plans. I am interested in pursuing an intelligence career – specifically counterterrorism. Interning with EAG provides me with critical insights into what I must do to reach my professional goals.

Interacting with the EAG staff is one of my favorite parts of the internship experience. EAG analysts have professional experiences in the military and special forces, intelligence, and investigative journalism. The conversations I have with staff members improve my technical skills while simultaneously stimulating my intellectual curiosity. Something we often speak about at EAG is the importance of the human component in OSINT. People often forget that every text message, photo, and online engagement is an indicator of human behavior. That is, online interactions provide critical insights into an individual’s thoughts and motivations. This internship is helping me develop a new way of looking at my work through a human-centered approach that considers the behavioral aspects of social media engagements. As an intern, I also have access to the Academy Training that EAG offers. This means that along with my hands-on training, I can work on my own development through taking highly informational and beneficial courses. These courses help with how to approach scenarios as an analyst but also with the more technical aspects such as coding.

I am very grateful for my time at EAG and I hope to continue my professional relationship with them beyond this semester. I have not only learned new skills, but I have developed a different way of looking at research and intelligence gathering. I hope that through my experience with EAG, I may be able to develop even better ways to identify and disrupt disinformation campaigns and provide threat assessments that may be beneficial to U.S. interests.

Internship Blog Series: UNFPA

Internship Blog Series: UNFPA

My name is Cristian Y. Ramos and I am in my last semester at the School of Diplomacy and International Relation’s M.A. program, specializing in International Organizations and International Law and Human Rights. I am very passionate about understanding human rights issues, particularly that of refugees and sexual violence against men and boys. My nine-month internship in the Humanitarian Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York helped me engage with my academic interests on a professional level. UNFPA is the sexual and reproductive health agency that deals with prevention and response in sexual gender-based violence (GBV), female genital mutilation (FGM), and other humanitarian priorities in 123 countries. During my time with UNFPA, I was a Policy and Liaison Intern for the humanitarian team. My duties ranged from taking notes during meetings to researching and helping the team develop innovative projects.

Some of my most meaningful projects involved doing research on sexual violence against men and boys in conflict settings and on the UN Framework on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). Both projects highlighted of the need for more diverse and integrated systems to treat those suffering from mental health due to violence, human rights abuses, migration, displacement, and more recently, the effects of Covid-19. The systems that are in place to serve and treat people require that services are given to men, women, girls, boys, and the elderly without discrimination or preference. Additionally, my internship provided me with the opportunity to see diplomacy in action. During meetings with delegates and ambassadors, I experienced how my supervisors diplomatically negotiated on behalf of the agency when funds were needed to implement programs and projects at the country level.

My coursework at Seton Hall was critical to my success with UNFPA. In particular, my classes in International Human Rights and Public International Law helped me build a foundation in the discipline and understand how international organizations, like UNFPA, help advance human rights and how they can improve. My internship was incredibly transformative as it helped me acquire skills in research, diplomacy, and writing. Working at the United Nations provided me with a different set of professional skills that vary from the skills I learned in the classroom. The reports that I put together with UNFPA had to abide by a particular template, as per UN guidelines, and they needed to be written in a different style. Additionally, I learned how to conduct negotiations by observing my supervisors as well as the ambassadors and diplomats who worked with our team.

I would definitely recommend this internship to those seeking a professional environment that deals with human rights issues. UNFPA is an organization that puts theory into practice. Students will not only learn about the important issues facing the global community but will also learn the codes of conduct and culture of the United Nations.

Internship Blog Series: Geneva Centre for Security Policy

Internship Blog Series: Geneva Centre for Security Policy

My name is Priscilla Haingo Plat and I am a second-year graduate student in the School of Diplomacy & International Relations at Seton Hall University. I am originally from Madagascar and France and nearly a year ago, after moving out of Paris, I started the M.A. program offered by the School of DiplomacyI knew such an academic endeavor would be a crucial step in the right direction to help narrow my career path, develop leadership skills, and uncover unique professional opportunities. 

Among these unique opportunities was a remote internship at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP). GCSP is an international foundation focused on building and maintaining global peace, security and stability. I joined the organization in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, assuming the role of Young Leader in Foreign and Security Policy, as part of their prestigious Global Fellowship Initiative (GFI). My graduate school specializations are global negotiation and conflict management, with a regional focus on Africa. Therefore, getting an insider’s view of a Geneva-based institution with 45 affiliated member states, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading centers for executive education, policy analysis and diplomatic dialogue, constitutes a dream internship experience for the political affairs specialist, policy analyst and diplomat that I aspire to be.  

With GCSP engaged in research, data collection, and leadership skills for activities surrounding climate changemigration, international security, foresight in Africa, conflict prevention, and the nexus between terrorism and organized crime in all its forms. Alternating between strategic anticipation and terrorism in relation to preventing violent extremism (PVE) essentially determines the work that I am doing with the Center. 

significant portion of the expertise I applied to the Center’s projects related to key security and peace policy issues that I acquired during my first year of graduate school. Courses such as Institutions of Post-Conflict Governance, Peacemaking and Peacekeeping, and the Art and Science of Negotiation, as well as various on-campus event organized by the School of Diplomacy, undoubtedly sharpened my knowledge and analytical thinking on foreign policy and international security. 

Given the circumstances, performing remotely and coordinating with my colleagues who are based in Geneva, has caused me to develop more effective reporting methods and rearrange my daily schedule, keeping in mind that time difference is a challenge that has to be overcome in order to meet deadlines and reach individual, collective, and global objectives. 

Not only does this fellowship program provide its participants with executive courses, conferences, seminars, workshops and the chance to participate in regional or issue-specific collaborative designs, but it also offers exclusive networking connections; notably, GCSP’s experts, executives-in-residence, associatesand doctoral and government fellows. I would highly recommend any student majoring in international relations apply and make the most of this fellowship program in the pursuit of a thriving career. 

Internship Blog Series: DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance

Internship Blog Series: DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance

My name is Emanuel Hernandez. I am a second-year graduate student pursuing an M.B.A. in Supply Chain Management/M.A. in International Relations dual-degree program at Seton Hall University. In the summer, I was selected as the School of Diplomacy’s Sergio Vieira de Mello Fellow, a fellowship program created in honor of a Brazilian UN diplomat who was killed in a bombing while working as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq.

De Mello fellows are placed as research assistants in project-based work at the DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance for a duration of eight weeks. DCAF, an international foundation under Swiss law, is dedicated to improving the security of states and their populations within a framework of democratic governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. DCAF helps its partner states and international actors to improve the governance of their security sectors through inclusive and participatory reforms based on international standards and practices. The foundation currently has 63 member states and operations in more than 74 countries.

I interned for the Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) Unit within the Operations Department. As one of the newest units at DCAF, we had a small team, with only a head of division, two project coordinators, one financial officer, and two interns (including myself). Working in such a small team comes with both challenges and perks.

One of the main advantages of working in a small team was the one-on-one feedback and mentoring from my peers. We worked in a dynamic environment that required everyone in the team to be able to perform multiple tasks. During my time there, I prepared multiple research reports and concept notes to be used in funding proposals, translated and edited publications and legal documents for international cooperation projects, and prepared daily briefs on security sector news in DCAF’s focus countries in LAC. I also had the opportunity to improve my professional writing skills in Spanish.

However, being responsible for multiple tasks in a small team came with its own challenges. Sometimes, the workload exceeded the time available in a given day, so I needed to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively to make sure that I got everything accomplished at the right time.

Participating in the internship reassured me of my choice to pursue a dual-degree program. My background in international relations was essential for processing data, understanding complex issues, and delivering information concisely in research reports. My education in business administration, on the other hand, was particularly useful in understanding financial statements and legal documents needed to implement and monitor international projects. I would certainly recommend this internship to anyone that is interested in international project-based work.

Geneva is a vibrant city during the Summer, and DCAF is located at the heart of international Geneva. While my objective had always been to work in the New York/Washington area, this experience opened my eyes to the professional opportunities in Geneva, which serves as a hub for hundreds of international organizations, multinational companies, and non-governmental organizations. Based on my experience with DCAF, I will be keeping an eye on jobs in Geneva when I begin applying for full-time positions.

Internship Blog Series: Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN

Internship Blog Series: Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN

My name is Roxane Heidrich. I am a second-year graduate student in the Diplomacy and International Relations Program, specializing in Global Negotiations and Conflict Management and International Security. I completed an internship at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.

My goal upon graduation is to work in the field of mediation of international conflicts and facilitate dialogue between stakeholders. These conflicts also possess a security dimension prior to peace talks, and I was interested in learning what arrangements need to be present on the ground before one can begin the mediation process. The Holy See matched these interests of mine in their dedication to peace and reconciliation as a religious organization. Such organizations are often at the forefront of mediation efforts, brokering ceasefires and peace agreements and playing a major role in bringing together rival parties and negotiating a successful and lasting peace.

In this sense, my decision to pursue this internship followed my understanding of mediation as an activity that needs to be carried out with the principles of neutrality, genuine engagement, and the unbiased interest of the mediator to help the parties find the best possible solution. I learned that the Catholic Church brings this to the table and more, which is linked to people’s connection through faith and a number of principles that call for mutual understanding and using non-violent means for solving violent crisis.

In my position, I learned much about the principles that guide the work of the Holy See in peacebuilding across the world. More specifically, through attending meetings at the Security Council (where the Holy See is an Observer State), I learned about such security arrangements that are fundamental to the cessation of the hostilities – a step that comes before the deployment of other types of efforts such as mediation and post-conflict reconstruction. I learned even more about UN strategies for peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including the challenges to such efforts which are very often represented by the political disagreement between Member States.

From this internship, I learned many new and transferable skills, such as writing reports in an accurate and timely fashion, speaking about and analyzing current security issues in a critical way, understanding the context of current conflicts such as in Venezuela, Kosovo, Myanmar, and Palestine-Israel, and understanding the timing of UN interventions (peacekeeping, appointment of special envoys, establishment of sanctions, establishment and withdrawal of missions, and mediation/dialogue facilitation) depending on the timing and severity of the conflict and the compliance of the host countries. These new skills represent some of my greatest accomplishments, and I am excited to carry them forward in my career.

Some challenges included coordinating my internship responsibilities with coursework and commuting between South Orange and New York, which could be difficult at times when weather was bad. Overall, however, I would definitely recommend this internship to someone that has a solid grasp of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the flexibility to work in a very dynamic environment. The opportunities to learn a lot and to grow professionally are numerous, and I am very grateful for my experience.

Internship Blog Series: Pfizer

Internship Blog Series: Pfizer

My name is Amy Marks, and I am pursing a dual degree in the MBA/MA program with a specialization in Supply Chain Management. I was a Data Scientist Intern at Pfizer primarily responsible for improving the Supply Chain of pharmaceuticals through predictive analytics and machine learning algorithm improvement. During my time with Pfizer, I worked on a specific project in text mining through Latent Dirichlet Allocation and Natural Language Processing – in other words, I built models based on data in text format rather than numeric. In addition, I was responsible for building an interactive dashboard so that departments could interact with my findings independently based on their needs. My work allowed my team to quickly identify trends, patterns and areas in need of improvement and then communicate the results to the respective departments.

My internship directly supported my goal of improving access to medicine and vaccines in developing countries. Among its many global initiatives, Pfizer has a pledge to the Developing World under the Advance Market Commitment. Under the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, Pfizer has pledged to supply up to 740 million vaccinations to infants and young children in Gavi-eligible countries through 2025. This is only possible through sound supply chains, which are improved through data analytics.

My coursework equipped me with the basic skills and knowledge, but application in the real-life professional world can be challenging. Pfizer is an extremely fast paced, forward-thinking company; to keep up with everything going on around me was a big difficulty. However, I met the challenge by completing diligent research on topics before meetings, learning the big picture of specific projects, and, most importantly, identifying and improving on my personal strengths that could propel the company forward.  

The most rewarding part of my internship was gaining exposure to a variety of business operations. I had the opportunity to tour research, manufacturing and quality assurance labs throughout the company’s various locations. I attended weekly learning sessions that provided information on the ongoing projects outside my field of study. I also attended multiple events that provided a variety of networking opportunities, including volunteering at a local park, meeting after-hours for team bonding, and attending various workshops. Furthermore, I was included on daily conference calls and meetings, which were extremely beneficial in experiencing how global operations are managed in a business setting.

My biggest takeaway from this experience was the importance of getting involved, taking initiative, and identifying the strengths that you can offer. It is much easier to remain in your comfort zone or to quickly be overwhelmed by the jobs’ expectations, or by all of the activity going on around you. However, every person working on a project contributes in one way or another, and it is imperative to be self-aware of what you have to offer, what you can learn and how you can apply it. This allows you to not only gain skills, but to increase your own confidence, network with professionals, and highlight your value as a potential future employee.

I recommend this internship for students interested in business as well as the unique position of pharmaceuticals to improve the world through the direct production and development of sustainable medicines and vaccinations. It was a truly unique experience.

Internship Blog Series: State Department, Lome, Togo

Internship Blog Series: State Department, Lome, Togo

My name is Erick Agbleke. While in pursuit of my graduate studies in International Relations and Diplomacy, along with specializations in International Security and Global Negotiation and Conflict Management, I was given the opportunity to intern with the State Department at a US Embassy of my choice. Since I was born in Togo, West Africa, I opted to spend 10 weeks at the Lomé Embassy with the Political and Economic (Pol-Econ) section of the mission. I wanted to return to my country of birth after spending 16 years abroad, to witness and study what kind of effects that U.S. international policies would have on a political climate I am familiar with.

A highlight of my internship with the State Department was a project assigned to me by the Chief of Section (CoS) to strengthen my security background. I wrote and recommended a strategy outline to combat wildlife trafficking in Togo based on the Eliminate Neutralize and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016. My recommendations, if approved by the State Department’s Office of Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, would be implemented as a policy and included in an annual congressional report. I relied on past project management skills that I developed through my professional career as well as my data collection skills to complete the necessary analysis.

Located south of Burkina Faso and east of Benin, Togo has become a transit state for ivory traffickers smuggling illegal goods. The traffickers take advantage of the porous borders and enter Togo with ivory in its raw form and make their way to Lomé to transform the ivory into art relics transported and sold elsewhere. Lomé is a strategic city for the smugglers because it gives them multitude avenues of exit. It is equipped with an international airport and a seaport serving as the maritime hub for the region, and smugglers utilize these avenues of travel to take ivory into south-east Asia. After my initial analysis of the wildlife trafficking framework in Togo, I was able to address the shortfalls and recommend improvements on how to the government could benefit from a partnership with the U.S.

Interning with the State Department has intensified my desire to become a diplomat and work with other countries to overcome the same challenges we share across the world. In my coursework, I learn and process instances where all areas of international relations are intertwined, amplified by my hands-on experience abroad. I have gained a deeper understanding on how security, diplomacy, conflict resolution and economic development must reconcile with one another to advance towards a common solution. In reflecting on the experience, I would recommend this internship to my fellow colleagues, as it is a great way to gain insight into the wonderful work we do abroad as a country. It is also a great opportunity to apply and test the plethora of theories we learn and discuss in the classroom with our professors.

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