My name is Stephanie Miller. I am a senior undergraduate student in the Diplomacy and International Relations program with a secondary major in Religious Studies and a minor in Arabic. I completed a research internship at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in Manhattan, New York.
The Global Centre is a research and advocacy organization that specializes in war crimes, genocide, ethnic crimes, and crimes against humanity. It works with governments, regional bodies, and other NGOs to operationalize the principles of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine into policy frameworks. It also monitors over 20 country situations either at risk or currently committing mass atrocities. As independent institutions, non-profits like the Global Centre are instrumental in ensuring accountability and encouraging inter-governmental action to prevent mass atrocity, and I had a wonderful time working with them.
My decision to pursue this internship was based in curiosity. Mass atrocities are crimes that make international headlines every day, but the corresponding prevention agenda is not something that people usually recognize, even in the classroom. The Global Centre works to bridge the gap between policy and responsible action, calling for the international community to commit to the principles outlined by the Geneva Convention and honor their agreements to protect civilians across the globe. I learned that while this work is not glamorous, it is entirely necessary.
Interning at the Global Centre taught me the difference between humanitarian work and human rights advocacy, cultivating a newfound interest in both. Prior to this internship, I thought that the two terms were mutually interchangeable, and I found that this a common misconception often overlooked. This experience taught me new and transferable skills that are applicable to both fields, honing practical expertise in report writing and analysis, oral communication, conflict mediation, and public engagement. I don’t think I could have found a more supportive and encouraging environment as I developed these new skills, and I look forward to carrying them into my career.
One of the challenges I faced in the beginning of my internship was separating myself from my work. The subject material I was dealing in daily was sometimes difficult to process, and in order to succeed in the position, I had to learn how to leave work in the office rather than take it home with me. I began setting healthy boundaries for myself before I could devote my time and energy to a mission that I quickly grew to care about. This internship taught me more than just practical skills – it taught me a life lesson that many don’t learn until much later, and for this I will always be grateful.
My advice to students looking for internships is to not limit yourself to searching only in the field you are interested in. Diversifying your interests enables you to take advantage of opportunities that you may not have had otherwise. My career goals were vastly different going into this internship than they are now. Working at the Global Centre made me re-evaluate my priorities and consider what I really want to do with my degree after I graduate, which is something I do not think I would have been forced to reckon with if I had worked anywhere else. Internships do not always change your outlook on life, but mine did. I gained new skills, new interests, and a new perspective on the field I want to go into.
My name is Mohamed Elshekh, and I am a senior at Seton Hall University studying International Relations and Diplomacy as well as Religious Studies. I interned at the Council on American Islamic Relations, New Jersey Chapter (CAIR-NJ), as the Government Affairs Coordinator. My primary concern while searching for internships was finding a position that combined my passions for diplomacy and religion. CAIR-NJ serves as the largest Muslim civil rights organization in America, with chapters all across the country. This was the ideal position because their goal is to enhance Americans’ understanding of Islam, promote tolerance and justice, and empower American Muslims across the United States.
With CAIR-NJ, I was tasked with communicating the needs of CAIR to various political campaigns and government officials. My biggest responsibility was planning for the Muslim Day of Advocacy (MDA), an annual event held in Trenton, NJ where various Muslim delegates meet with elected officials to advocate on behalf of the Muslim community and educate on concerns. I was tasked with drafting talking points for MDA, preparing a fact sheet of the bills we will be supporting, and recruiting delegates who will be present the day of the event. In addition, I scheduled meetings with government officials so that we would have time to properly prepare our delegates before the meetings and so they would be able to speak about the bills in the NJ legislator and explain why the Muslim community either supports or rejects the proposed bill.
The work I completed with CAIR has transformed my outlook on civil rights work and domestic policy. I believed that as a Diplomacy student, my interests would only align at an internship that focused on issues relating to the international community. With CAIR, I learned that these small steps taken to change domestic policy can have far-reaching effects that alter international policy.
Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy provided me with the necessary skills to excel in the position. My background in International Relations and U.S foreign policy was essential for communicating with government officials and their staff, as well as creating fact-sheets and writing on behalf of the goals of CAIR. I recommend this internship to students who have a passion for civil rights and advocacy. This position served as a vital tool to my personal and career development. The professional skills and knowledge that I gained from CAIR will continue to help me after I graduate college and enter the job market.
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.
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.
Pictured: GrowNYC’s green market in Union Square.
My name is Kyla Stewart, and I am a senior at Seton Hall University majoring in Diplomacy with a minor in Spanish. I worked as the Government Relations Intern at GrowNYC, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on sustainability and food access.
GrowNYC’s programming includes green markets and community gardens as well as school-based initiatives that emphasize school gardens, self-sustaining cafeterias, zero waste, and youth employment for our markets, promoting environmental awareness at a young age. There are over 100 gardens and 50 green markets across the five NYC boroughs. I developed a huge passion for the organization’s mission, and I thoroughly enjoyed every day spent working in the office and out in the field.
I completed a variety of tasks under the development department but drafting and editing contracts were the priority. My work involved processing and writing contract agreements for GrowNYC funding while also seeking out new grants and reporting on progress for each contract. I never thought that processing a 200+ page city council discretionary funding allocation contract could be fun, but I enjoyed it tremendously, and I have gained so much insight as to how non-profits function and fund programs.
I was also regularly involved with the non-profit lobbying arm of the group, which included writing and prepping materials for presentations intent on helping GrowNYC gain more funding for its programming. In this role, I was able to be highly independent and gain plenty of hands-on experience in the field of government relations, and I am so grateful for the opportunities offered by the non-profit and its impactful initiatives.
GrowNYC was more than I ever could have hoped for. The work environment fostered so much of my professional growth, and I gained an incredible amount of knowledge and experience as a result. This internship cemented my interest in the government relations field with a non-profit focus, and I hope to someday get my master’s in diplomacy in the field of sustainable development. GrowNYC’s mission left a huge personal impact on me, and I go forward confident that I have gained the skills I need to be successful.
My name is Austin O’Neill, and I am a senior double-majoring in International Relations and Economics with a minor in Arabic. I completed an internship at Guardian Life Insurance Company of America this semester in addition to my previous full-time internship last summer. My position is in Disability Insurance individual markets under the Product Strategy team.
I originally chose to intern at Guardian Life because they have a large presence in my hometown of Pittsfield, MA, offering a great opportunity very close to home over the summer. I continued to intern with Guardian Life when the Product Strategy team asked me to stay on during the school year to assist with a variety of projects, which indicated that I am considered a valued member of the team.
The department focuses on many different areas of disability insurance products, including research and development, competitive research, product training, filing, and support. I had the chance to assist across every responsibility, providing me with a broad spectrum of learning opportunities. My main responsibilities were preparing files for state insurance agencies, altering documents and content with the rebranding team, and creating PowerPoints and spreadsheets for presentations by the executive team.
One interesting project I completed was designing the PowerPoint for a new product pitch presented by the executive team. The product was considered revolutionary for the market, and I was tasked to express the characteristics of the product. This project was exciting as it had real implications for the highest-ranking officers of Disability, and it allowed me to showcase skills I have learned at the internship and through classes at Seton Hall.
I found a great balance in building skills between my internship and course studies. I became very familiar with Excel, which is a skill I have utilized at school with assignments such as my senior thesis, as well as data collection for the Product Strategy team. While working on product filing assignments for Guardian Life, I received exposure to Adobe Pro, which is important for many different business operations, but was also applicable as a document editing tool for my studies. Additionally, it was interesting to work on the front-end and back-end of rebranding for a large company. I edited and updated documents, and I tested webpages and programming software for consumer friendliness. The skills I learned from these duties are numerous and will help me in my future career.
My internship at Guardian Life helped me develop in both my professional and academic life. I networked across all business areas and may seek full-time opportunities at Guardian Life after graduation. Even as a Fortune 250 company, Guardian Life still seeks to receive input from all its employees, from interns to executive teams. For these reasons, I would suggest others to seek internships at Guardian Life for learning and development in the private sector.
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.
My name is Kenneth Saint Preux, and I am a junior in the Diplomacy and International Relations program at Seton Hall. Over the summer, I interned in Mirebalais, Haiti for an organization called Fonkoze, an NGO that works to alleviate poverty in Haiti. I interned in their CLM (Chemen Lavi Miyò) program. Chemen Lavi Miyò means “Pathway to a Better Life”. This phrase embodies the program’s goals. CLM’s goal is provide services and empowerment to low-income women across the central plateau region of Haiti. My responsibilities included accompanying case managers to various sites to research and assist on project implementation while managing participants.
Working with an NGO in a developing state gave me access to knowledge that most people would not be able to obtain. Fonkoze gave me an opportunity to better understand the issues that are plaguing Haiti. By understanding these various issues, I am also learning more about the foreign policy of Haiti. Haiti lacks many resources and depends on aid from the U.S. and trade with the Dominican Republic. The Haitian Government’s reliance on aid and trade allows for the poverty issue in Haiti to be exacerbated to the point where it is almost impossible to find “the poorest of the poor” in Haiti.
My coursework has helped during this internship as many of the challenges I encountered came from the cultural differences between the staff and participants. My Cross-Cultural Negotiation and Conflict Management course helped significantly with my communication skills. As I have learned throughout my studies, interacting with those of other cultures is a key component to the art of diplomacy and becoming a practitioner in the field. Another class that helped me with my internship was my Institutions of Global Governance class, teaching me about the functionality of NGOs across various developed and developing nation-states. NGOs play a significant role in Haiti, as they provide services that the Government of Haiti cannot provide. Fonkoze is such an example. The last course I will mention that helped in this internship was my Sustainable Development class, which taught me how nation-states could grow and prosper while also stressing the intersectionality of poverty and economic development. Poverty is not an issue that just simply disappears over time or periods of growth; solutions require massive amounts of effort and research. This connects to my current work, as Fonkoze focuses its efforts on female-headed households, due to their usually being the most fragile of these families under “extreme poverty”.
I would recommend Fonkoze to students interested in gaining experience in the development field. Fonkoze is a great organization that will send you to a place that truly needs help. Fonkoze gives students the opportunity to see a successful NGO in a developing state.