Over the last seven
years, UNF students have been placed in
exceptional internship positions, not only locally, but in Tallahassee,
Washington, D.C., New York City, and internationally, as well. Further explore our internship website
for more details on how, where, and when to get an internship.
students have secure prestigious internships at: the United Nations World Food
Program in Bangkok, Thailand, Tanzania, and Rome; offices of Senators
Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, Dick Durban, and Elizabeth Dole, numerous
Congressional offices, the Department of Education, Department of Defense and
the Department of State in Washington, D.C., U.S. Embassies abroad, including
Paris, Geneva, Lima, Skopje, Ankara, and Moscow; Refugees International,
National Democratic Institute, American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage
Foundation, CNN, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, Citizens for Global
Solutions in Washington, CNN and the Susan Komen Foundation in Atlanta, and
PEN, Human Rights First, and Amnesty International in New York City.
Internships can be two
to six months, any time during the year.
Often, Fall and Spring applicants have more success as they avoid the
hoards of applicants for summer positions.
Many students take advantage of the Washington Center’s internship
program which offers a 12 credit course, housing, and a strong support network
in Washington, D.C. While the Center
will help you find an internship, you will be best served by working with the
UNF faculty to help locate the internship of your dreams. There is funding and scholarships available
so don’t let finances keep you from applying!!
See Dr. Mary Borg and Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, as well as career
services to get started. [add
How the experiences changed UNF students’ lives and
where they are now
had an internship with the World Food Programme in Tanzania; he’s now working
in DC at a lobbying firm.
opportunities I have had through her mentorship have changed my life and
the trajectory of my career. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful to be in
that handful of brave students.” Scott
Duncan interned at the Heritage Foundation and on Rick Scott’s campaign for
governor; she’s now working as the assistant to the president of the American
Enterprise Institute in DC.
interned for then-Senator Hillary Clinton; she is now a state prosecutor here
in Jacksonville. “Our Soderberg class
2007 helped me to get the internship in DC with Hillary, another one with the
think tank Center for American Progress, into law school at UF, and ultimately
obtain my position as an Assistant State Attorney.”
Aaron Quick he
worked in DC at Cliff Stearns’ office; he’s now in the Peace Corps in Ukraine.
“This trip was just a dream that was unreal! If anyone would have told me that
I would present a policy paper in the CIA Headquarters, the Pentagon, or the
State Department, I would not have believed that person! I highly recommend in
taking Nancy Soderberg’s policy class. Not only are you learning about foreign
policy, but you actually practicing it in D.C.!”
he interned in for the World Food Program in Italy; he’s now a Reports Officer
got an internship on Governor Rick Scott’s campaign; he now is a key health
advisor in Tallahassee for the governor.
“I cannot undersell the value of internships as they have been vital in
my developmental personally and professionally. The first internship I ever got
was with the McCain-Palin Presidential campaign. My job was to assist staff
with, many times, random problems and events. Yet with the connections I made
during the campaign, I started myself on a journey that has, so far, led me to
work as a lobbyist for Governor Rick Scott in Tallahassee. It has been quite a journey these last 5
years – time has flown – but it all started because of an internship.”
interned at the US Embassy in Ankara and at the International Republican
Insitute which promotes democracy worldwide.
She just got hired there.
We have many
more in the Peace Corps in Cameroon, Senegal, Indonesia, and much more!
The Public Service
Leadership Program is a unique program which is building a national reputation
for students to gain the skills, experience, and contacts needed for a career
in public policy - both domestic and international. It was founded in
2006 by Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the
University of North Florida. As the current Director of the program,
Ambassador Soderberg has used her extensive contacts in government and the
nonprofit world to build a network of opportunities for UNF students to gain
first hand experience in the field, building their resume and contacts -- keys
to future employment.
There are three
elements to the program: internships; the Model UN program; and the Real
World Policy class Washington, D.C. trip. Each of these programs
build lasting skills for students and transform the students' vision and career
goals. They enable UNF students to play in the big leagues, realize they
can compete -- and propels them to think bigger. Students are so impacted by their
discovery that they can have a leadership role in shaping this country’s future
that they often change their career ambitions. The program is building a
network of opportunities for UNF students to gain first hand experience in the
field, building their resume and contacts -- keys to future employment.
Participants learn how to secure internships and jobs in the field, and how to
write resumes, cover letters, and handle the interview process.
Play in the big leagues!!!
prospective employers have been actively seeking students whose background goes
beyond the typical Ivy League experience, UNF students have proven themselves
to be equals in the internship pool. With this success, the University now is
able to place any student who seeks an internship and set each well on his or
her way to a career in public policy.
The students realize they can “play in the big leagues” and develop
contacts and experience that land them jobs far beyond their earlier
! Many have found employment following their
internships, including with Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, CNN,
Governor Rick Scott, the American Enterprise Institute, the International
Republican Institute, the World Food Program,
and a vast array of organizations. Many others are in graduate
school, including one who won the prestigious Pickering scholarship to attend
American University and another who earned a Masters Degree at the London
School of Economics and is now attending law school at the University of
Virginia. Others are in the Peace Corps.
Like international issues? Getting to know other cultures? Join UNF’s Model UN Club!!
UN is an intercollegiate simulation of the United Nations (UN) which educates
students about the operations and goals of the UN, other international
policy-making institutions, such as NATO or the World Health Organization, as
well as global politics and humanitarian issues. For competitions, students
study international political systems, the policies of different countries, and
global problems such as ethnic conflict, hunger, disease, and climate change.
While the main goal of Model UN is to engage student with international issues
from an academic, policy-oriented perspective, they also learn the viewpoints
of other nations and cultures by building relationships with their peers in
competition, many of whom are international students. The New York conference allows UNF students
to take an in-depth tour of the United Nations, compete in the General Assembly
chambers, meet with distinguished diplomats, and meet with representatives of
their assigned countries' embassies.
UNF Model UN team actively prepares for three competitions throughout the year:
Atlanta, GA (Southern regional
conference), Washington, DC
(national- and international-level competition), and New York City, NY (major, culminating international-level
meetings engage students in relevant UN procedures, current affairs debates,
public speaking and communication skills, and critical thinking exercises. In
addition to weekly meetings, small group research sessions are held prior to
competition to sharpen students' conceptual understanding of the assigned
topics. Delegates also devote individual time to research and argumentation
strategy, and report learned information back to their team mates. In
preparation for each conference, delegates work together to prepare position
papers, which are then evaluated by the directors of their respective
committees. The team runs several simulation rounds lasting at least an hour
and a half in order to solidify the skills they need for committee.
shifts in understanding leadership and team-work occur when Model UN students
are introduced to a variety of leadership roles -- both through club
interactions at home and through competitions. Students learn to distinguish
when it is appropriate to actively step into a chief leadership role and
organize peers to achieve common goals, or when supporting as a background
player is more effective. Hands-on experience with leadership provides students
with essential skills -- including consensus building, patience, giving and
receiving constructive criticism, perseverance, etc. -- that will benefit
students throughout their education at UNF, in later careers and/or graduate
school, and as members of their community.
UNF Model UN team is primarily student-run and student-driven. Student leaders have their own teaching
techniques -- primarily provision of effective models and experience through
practice -- to assist new team members as they learn about the United Nations,
international politics, and competition strategy. Each conference provides
guidelines for conduct and participation that the team understands and adheres
to. The faculty advisor is available to
the team as needed, to reinforce the students' process of learning
substantively about content and process, effective communication, practice
conference simulations, and developing personal awareness.
student growth is the primary goal, evidence of promise is found in the team's
success at competition. The first team in 2008 themselves funded participation
in their first competition in Gainesville, FL and earned 6 awards, including in
the "Best of" categories.
UNF’s Model UN is now the most
decorated UNF Student Government club!
2010, the growing team took 25 members to Gainesville -- half of whom had never
competed -- and won 5 awards, including "Most Improved" and
"Best of" categories. Also in 2010, the UNF team represented the
country of Gabon and took second place out of over 500 teams at the National
Model UN conference in Washington, DC. In Spring 2011, the UNF team received
first place at the New York National Conference, competing against over 2,000
national and international teams -- at times, those competitions were held in
the real General Assembly chambers. This win was featured in the July edition of
"Inside UNF." In Fall 2011, the team again took second place at the
National Model UN conference in Washington DC, representing Turkey. In Spring
of 2012, UNF Model UN won second place at the New York competition as Mongolia;
this was followed by a first place win as the United States at the Florida
Model UN fall competition in Gainesville, and a third place at the Southern
Regional conference as Jordan. In spring
2013, one UNF team member won "outstanding delegate" for her
participation in the Florida Crisis Simulation (a competition related to Model
Model UN team is a club organized through Student Government and is open to
interested students who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The Model UN requires
all members to attend mandatory meetings and participate in 90% of the club's
on-campus activities (as outlined in the club charter filed with Student
Government). Recruitment occurs through Student Government and Club Alliance as
well as announcements and classroom presentations aimed at related majors
including: Anthropology, History, Economics, Geography, International Business,
International Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Social Studies
Pamela A. Zeiser has a Ph.D. in Political
Science/International Relations serves as the advisor to Model UN.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Internship Program with US Senator Bill Nelson
Internship: Congressman RonDeSantis FL06 District office
Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)
The Fiorentino Group Intern Position
Nonprofit Center Internship
The Executive Office of the Mayor of Jacksonville
Duval County Democratic Executive Committee
District-Level Congressional Internship Opportunities Office of U.S. Representative Ted Yoho
Florida New Majority
State House of Representatives Campaign Internship
Program-For Jay Fant-District 15
American’s for Prosperity, one
of the nation’s largest conservative political action groups, has recently
opened a North East Florida office here in Jacksonville. AFP is actively
looking for interns and volunteers who share our passion of fiscal
responsibility and smaller government. Interns will be required to assist in
voter targeting through phone banking sessions and/or field canvassing
outreach. Interns may help with general office duties as well. This is a
great starting point for fiscally conservative students who want to take part
in the real political process and a fantastic way to potentially open new
doors. If interested, contact Jeb Morris at 904-655-6043 or by email at
. Our new office is
located at 3306 Beach Blvd. Jacksonville FL, 32207.
PEN American Center
Human Rights Watch
International Peace Institute
International Crisis Group
International Center for Transitional Justice
International Rescue Committee
Educational Housing Services: http://www.studenthousing.org/and/university- a not-for-profit organization that has been providing quality intern housing for more than 25 years. Residences are located in New York City and are fully furnished with many amenities.
UNF students have the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the field of public policy through internships in the political arena, the government, the United Nations, and national and international organizations, experiences that are truly transformational. Over the last seven years, the Public Service Leadership Program has placed nearly 100 students in these exceptional positions, not only locally, but in Tallahassee, Washington, D.C., New York City, as well as internationally.
UNF students have worked for two to six months in offices of Senators Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, and Elizabeth Dole, numerous Congressional offices, the Department of Education, Department of Defense, and the Department of State in Washington, D.C., U.S. Embassies abroad, including Paris, and Ankara. Other offices include Refugees International, National Democratic Institute, American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, CNN, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, Citizens for Global Solutions in Washington, and the Susan Komen Foundation in Atlanta, and PEN, Human Rights First, and Amnesty International in New York City. Students have worked for the United Nations World Food Program in Bangkok, Thailand, Tanzania, and Rome.
As these prospective employers have been actively seeking students whose background goes beyond the typical Ivy League experience, UNF students have proven themselves to be equals in the internship pool. With this success, the University now is able to place any student who seeks an internship and set each well on his or her way to a career in public policy. The experiences not only give the students real life experience in their fields but also inspire them to seek careers they had previously assumed were out of reach. UNF offers scholarships for many of these opportunities.
Stacey Enriquez, a UNF senior nursing student, discusses her 2007 South African internship, where she studied the country’s health care system and how it is treating its HIV/AIDS epidemic:
“If you are questioning whether the time, money, and effort put toward an internship is worth it – I say yes, absolutely. Knowledge can be gained from books and a classroom, but there is a unique experiential knowledge gained by putting what you have learned into practice. I now study nursing with greater conviction and purpose. I also feel a kinship with the people of South Africa who welcomed me by sharing their history, culture, pain, and hope for a healthier future. I am a better person because of them.”
Today, UNF students have found jobs from these internships in the offices of Governor Rick Scott, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, the UN World Food Program, the American Enterprise Fund, CNN, and a vast array of organations. Many others are in graduate school.
Please note: Any student who is going overseas needs to go to the International Center on campus for insurance, liability and orientation purposes. The department cannot approve an internship overseas without the student going through the International Center
The Washington Center
UNF Honors & Scholars Program -
Scholarships.com (Study Abroad)
J.W. Sax Memorial Fund
These individuals are happy to take questions concerning their experiences, please contact Brooke Hammon at Brooke.Hammon@unf.edu or (904) 620-5104 for more information.
"My internship with the United Nations’ World Food Programme in Tanzania could not have been more beneficial and worthwhile. Living amongst the citizens of one of the most impoverished regions on earth was remarkable, and sincerely humbling. This was an experience that can never be replicated in a classroom and one that has given me significant insight into the needs and the way forward for a compassion and inspiration to succeed in and out of the classroom----I made a difference."
"As part of my interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Conflict Transformation, I took Ambassador Soderberg's Real World Power/Superpower Myth class. Not only did this course improve my critical thinking and writing skills, but Ambassador Soderberg later helped me secure an internship in Washington DC at a prestigious think tank, where I researched the future of UN peacekeeping operations and the protection of civilians during violent conflict. Following this experience I was able to land a job in DC at an international human rights advocacy organization and I am also currently finishing a Masters of Science in Conflict Management and Negotiations. My experience at UNF was instrumental in preparing me for a career in foreign policy and human rights advocacy."
Co-Founder & CEO of Eco Hub:
Reports Officer for the World Food Program headquarters in Rome, Italy:
In 2010, I started work as an intern with the World Food Program’s (WFP) headquarters in Rome, Italy. Today, after working in a handful of emergencies throughout the globe, I am back at a desk in Rome – a bit road worn, but grateful for the opportunities I've earned. I've played more of a role in global events during the last three years than I thought possible in three lifetimes, and for that I have my university to thank. The connections provided through UNF, as well as the internship-assistance initiatives of individual faculty, helped to jump-start my career and turn my good intentions into practical solutions.
As a Reports Officer, it has been my job to let the world know what issues are preventing families from reaching their basic food needs, and what WFP and the cooperating humanitarian community are doing to help. I consolidate information – including WFP's operations, food insecurity issues, as well as the overall political, economic, social and sometimes militaristic updates – to provide on-the-ground context for donor countries, WFP management, the general humanitarian community, and on occasion news media outlets. I've worked in Guatemala to support subsistence farmers and their families after mudslides and flooding wiped out seed silos, fields, and whole villages. At the onset of the Arab Spring, I went to Cairo where I took part in the refugee assistance to those populations fleeing conflict in Libya for neighboring countries in Egypt and Tunisia; and later, as fighting within Libya scaled down, I moved into the country to play a larger role in managing and evaluating distributions to families struggling to reestablish their lives in war-torn cities and governorates. In Rome, I help to provide donors with timely updates on country office and regional activities – ensuring that such direct, on-the-ground assistance can continue to be provided. There is a lot of uncertainty in my job, and I've had to learn to adapt quickly to evolving environments. I like working for WFP because it’s a constant reminder to be thankful, and that, while the world does not treat all equally, at least WFP (and organizations like it) give us the platform to help improve the situation for those who have been handed a raw deal. Working in this organization has been an unmatched opportunity, and I’m glad I've been able to play a small role in these evolving regions. Often I am asked how I came to work in such an interesting environment – once the UNF opportunity opened a door for me, I took it and ran. My advice has always been: forget the wardrobe and work for the job you want, not the job you have. If you enter as an intern, anywhere, and want a paid position – be ready to get your hands dirty and make yourself indispensable. I wish you all the best of luck in your path. All the best.
Read Ryan's World Food Program
I remember the first day of Professor Soderberg's "Contemporary Issues" class as a student still unsure of my career goals. She promised that the internship experiences we could obtain through her mentorship would be life changing, and that only a brave handful of us would actually take her up on it. With determination, I recall telling myself, "I have to be in that handful."
Fast forward eighteen months, and I have begun to passionately pursue a career in government relations. After "Contemporary Issues," I took Professor Soderberg's Spring 2012 "Real World Policy" class in which we selected a U.S. foreign policy issue, developed policy prescriptions, and presented them before senior officials in Washington, DC that included a meeting with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Last year, I spent four months in Tanzania as an intern with the United Nations World Food Programme where I assisted with the Food for Education & Food for Assets initiatives. My experience there provided me with a firsthand understanding of the cooperative relationships between national & local government, NGOs, and international organizations.
Since returning to the States, I have been interning in the Jacksonville office of Senator Marco Rubio. Following graduation in April 2013, I will be moving to Washington, DC to continue work in government relations before pursuing graduate and law degrees.
Through Professor Soderberg's mentorship, I have already accomplished milestones in my collegiate career that I never imagined possible. Peter Drucker, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, once said, "Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations." Professor Soderberg has done exactly this for me and my fellow students at the University of North Florida.
Her promise has held true: The opportunities I have hadthrough her mentorship have changed my life and the trajectory of my career. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful to be in that handful of brave students.
I am planning to pursue a PhD Degree in international relations in order to become a U.S Foreign Service Office. I will be graduating from University of North Florida (UNF) in April, 2013 with a Bachelor's of Science in International Relations and a minor in philosophy.
My goal is to represent America's interests in East Africa, in particular Ethiopia. My personal knowledge of the culture, religion, and language in the region, coupled with my graduate studies, will prepare me well for this career. I believe that this is only possible due to Prof. Nancy Soderberg encouragement and commitment to helping me understand international relations.
My interest in international relations stems from growing up in Africa. I was born in Yavello, Ethiopia in 1991 and my family and I moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 1994 because of the political instability of the Ethiopian government. Growing up in Kenya I assimilated into the culture, language and the people. Kiswahili became my third language after Afan Orom and Amharic. In hope for a better life my family and I moved once again to America, 10 years in the pursuit of happiness I have always kept my dream to help my people in my mind and heart.Before I began taking Prof. Soderberg's classes, I worked at UNF Environmental Center as a student assistant in August, 2011. I coordinated Garbage on the Green a $7,000 project. I recruited and trained over 160 students' for the university-sponsored event in 2011, and 124 students in 2012. The audit program is aimed at educating students, faculty and staff about ways to reduce campus trash through recycling, litter-prevention practices and other "environmental" issues. I also oversaw the planning, logistics, management of 60 student volunteers for Recyclemania. It is an ongoing 10-week long, friendly competition between 600 different universities nationwide.
Jack Bisase was recently award the 2013 Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Read the full press release
When I was an intern for Congressman Cliff Stearns in Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2008, this opportunity opens a new phase of my life. Before accepting this internship, I have never live or work outside of the Jacksonville area. I was nervous about living in a different place and in a different city; however, Nancy Soderberg gave me the inspiration and courage to do it! Through her guidance and advice, I got the internship in Washington, D.C.
It was a real pleasure and honor to work for my congressman at Capitol Hill. I felt proud that I was helping people from my congressional district in Florida. One of my favorite tasks was giving tours in the Capital Building for the constituents from my district. I love American history, and it was fantastic that I can demonstrate this knowledge by telling people stories of the different rooms in the Capital Building. One of my favorite rooms was the Old Supreme Court Chamber. It was here that legendary justices like Chief Justice John Marshall preside over famous cases such as McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden, Dred Scott v. Sandford that helped shape American politics and history!
As for other duties, I attended a sub-committee meeting about advantages and disadvantages of using certain psychological drugs for U.S. veterans from Iraq or helped constituents either by phone or by mail. Being an intern on Capitol Hill has other advantages! With my clearance badge, I could freely explore most places like the Capital Building and the U.S. Representative and Senate offices! Under Capital Hill is a huge network of tunnels. I went from my office building to the U.S. Library of Congress without ever going above ground! One of the coolest perks of being an intern was that I could sit and watch the Representatives and the Senators debating and voting in their respective galleries!
This opportunity was the foundation of my life in service. After my internship, I was an intern for different political campaigns in 2008 and 2010. After completing my degree at UNF, I enrolled as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan in 2011. I taught English as a second language in a village. Currently, I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine working with the youth in disadvantaged areas. Internships are a great and wonderful way to find out what you want to do in life. Internships also help in developing skills for your future career!I had the honor and privilege to be part of Nancy’s public policy course in the fall of 2008. For our project, it was on Venezuela’s relationship with the U.S. The project was a blueprint for America and Venezuela to reengage on various issues concerning the U.S.’s interests in Latin America. My class and I presented our policy paper to various policy officials, including the Venezuelan embassy. It was a fantastic trip! We met many important government officials: Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, Robert W. Swartz: Special Advisor to the Vice-President for National Security, Patrick Duddy: expelled U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Brigadier General Joseph P. Disalvo, Minister Counselor for Political Affairs of the Venezuelan Embassy Dr. Rivero Santos, and many others!
We conducted our meetings at the CIA Headquarters, the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Venezuelan Embassy, and Capitol Hill. One of my favorite places was the Pentagon! After our meeting, an honor guard gave us a personal tour of the place. He even showed us the Pentagon 9/11 memorial where one of the planes crushed into the Pentagon on that horrible day. Another favorite place was the State Department. Before our presentation, we were waiting in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms where foreign diplomats wait for the Secretary of State. Just down the corridor, we saw the Secretary of State’s office!
After the meetings, we enjoyed the city life in D.C.! We ate a Lebanese restaurant and an Ethiopian restaurant. We visited many monuments such as the Jefferson Memorial. We even stayed in a nice hotel in Georgetown! This trip was just a dream that was unreal! If anyone would have told me that I would present a policy paper in the CIA Headquarters, the Pentagon, or the State Department, I would not have believed that person! I highly recommend in taking Nancy Soderberg’s policy class. Not only are you learning about foreign policy, but you actually practicing it in D.C.!
I cannot undersell the value of internships as they have been vital in my developmental personally and professionally. The first internship I ever got was with the McCain-Palin Presidential campaign. My job was to assist staff with, many times, random problems and events. Yet with the connections I made during the campaign, I started myself on a journey that has, so far, led me to work as a lobbyist for Governor Rick Scott in Tallahassee.
While I college, because of Professor Soderberg's classes and the unique opportunities UNF provided me, I sought out multiple internships working for political campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying firms. Each one of those internships provided me opportunities to learn how to be a political operative, a professional, and a confident individual. It was with that first internship however, that set me on this path. Unknown to me at the time, but during the McCain-Palin campaign I joined, what I call, the Republican Campaign Rolodex. Many people never realize that political campaigns are run by the same people every election cycle and once you do one, you get called back in. In the summer of 2010, I graduated and was going to join the ranks of those in the labor market that were under-employed. However, due to the connections I made in the McCain-Palin campaign, I was offered an opportunity. I was asked to join Rick Scott’s campaign for the Governor of Florida. Although I was hired as a Deputy Field Director, I eventually oversaw field operations in twelve counties in Northeast Florida. My office had over 100 staff and volunteers, which I trained and led for 4 months. After Governor Scott won, I was asked to join the Governor’s inaugural committee and take responsibility for several events. At the ripe old age of 21, I allocated a budget of half a million dollars and led two inaugural events. Immediately after the Governor’s Inauguration, I was appointed as a Legislative Liaison at the Agency for Health Care Administration. In my role as liaison between the Governor, the Florida Legislature, and the Agency responsible for healthcare in Florida I became responsible for promoting the policies of the Governor by monitoring, lobbying, and analyzing legislation, including but not limited to, Florida’s massive Medicaid program, prescription drug programs, and regulated health and long-term care facilities. My impact on the Florida legislative process has been palpable. Though Washington D.C. is the goal for many young, politically-motivated students, I cannot understate the opportunities that exist on both the local and state levels. Whether it is directly lobbying Legislators and staff or directly impacting the policy formulated that affect the millions of citizens in Florida, my immediate impact on high-level policy was resoundingly quick. It has been quite a journey these last 5 years – time has flown – but it all started because of an internship.
National Drug Control Policy, Washington D.C.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Office of
National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) or the “Drug Czar’s” Office in Washington,
D.C. The ONDCP sets and coordinates the White House’s policies on illegal drugs
among the various executive branch agencies with its ultimate goal of reducing
drug use. It is responsible for the federal government’s anti-drug media
campaigns and awards grants to communities in their efforts against drugs. I
was assigned to intern in their Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA), which was
a very enlightening experience due to the intergovernmental contact.
My main duties were typical office work (data entry, making
copies, etc) and to research a variety of topics. A consistent activity was to
build biographies of Senators and members of Congress. These biographies are
for the Director on his trips around the nation. The most interesting aspect
was the opportunity to attend hearings and meetings on Capitol Hill. I attended
various Congressional committee and subcommittee hearings in the House and
Senate Office Buildings, which helped me gain a better understanding of the
legislature. It was interesting to gauge each member of Congress's interest or
lack thereof in the subject at hand.
One of the most important things that I got out of the
internship was learning how the executive and legislative branches interact.
OLA would track bills relating to drugs and lobby members of Congress to vote
in favor of the bills. This aspect was interesting to me because at the time I
did not think of the executive branch as lobbyists. Another interesting aspect
was that members of Congress would work with the ONDCP about staging press
conferences and information to use in speeches. Again, this helped to
illustrate the coordination between these two branches of government.
The best part of the internship was living in the city. I lived
in an apartment at The George Washington University in the Foggy Bottom area. I
was blocks from major areas of importance and history, such as: the Watergate
Complex, the John F. Kennedy Center, and the Department of State. During my
short, five week stay I tried to experience as much of the city as possible. I
could make a huge list of everything that I did but the highlights were:
attending a Broadway musical at the John F. Kennedy Center, touring the White
House, the Capitol, the Smithsonian Museums, and attending a U.S. National Team
Soccer game. Besides the various events
and museums, the city is very beautiful and has an array of historical
Overall, the internship was one of the most exciting things I
have done in my life. It is so hard to describe the entire experience, but it
has changed me for the better. I have clearer goals in mind and know that I
would love to work for the federal government in Washington. I highly recommend
any student to apply for an internship in Washington, D.C. or anywhere else
that they are interested. I was not expecting to get the internship, but I did
and it was a truly life changing opportunity.
Refugee Camp, Bangladesh
Over the summer, May-August of 2009 I was apart of an
internship with the United Nations World Food Programme(WFP) in Bangkok,
Thailand. Attaining the internship required dialogue between guided WFP
personnel, the UNF International Studies Department and the Academic Enrichment
Program. Throughout my internship I was able to contribute to relief and
emergency aid to vulnerable populations such as Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka
and Bangladesh. While interacting daily with international staff and
humanitarians across the globe I was also invited to directly participate in
ground level operations in refugee camps on the Bangladesh and Myanmar border
and the borders of India and Bangladesh. The opportunity to not only obtain an
internship through UNF but to contribute to throughout our globe in desperate
need was an opportunity that changed my life and my direction in life. It gave
me a career focus in addition to enhancing my knowledge of the world around me.
My internship was with PEN American Center in New York
City. PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest
international literary and human rights organization. The organization is
comprised of 3,300 professional members who represent the most distinguished
writers, translators, and editors in the United States. They promote writing
and literature at every level and are founded on the belief that free
expression is an essential component of every healthy society.
PEN is has a number of different programs, including The
Writer’s Fund, which I worked on.The PEN
Writer’s Fund assists professionally published writers and editors who are
facing acute financial crisis by providing temporary financial relief to
alleviate hardship that might otherwise force them to abandon their work. My
responsibilities included researching health insurance and aid organizations
that are geared towards helping writers in emergency situations, and updating
the PEN website’s resource list. I also was the initial person in charge of
assessing and summarizing applicants for PEN’s Writer’s Fund. And I attended
the final meeting to address the amount of aid money to be allotted to each
applicant. I also assisted with various other tasks related to Membership
including addressing envelopes to endless numbers of editors, writers, and
assorted other members, including Henry Kissinger, Woody Allen and one of my
personal favorites Annie Dillard, all of whom I subsequently stalked (just kidding!)…
I was able to finance the scholarship, with the help and
guidance of Dr. Soderberg, who told me about the TLO grant offered at UNF. I
wrote out a cover letter, and with my resume, and a letter of recommendation.
After a few months I learned that I had received the internship.
I actually fell in love with New York City so much that
when my supervisor at PEN asked me if I would like to stay on as a fall intern.
I decided I would, and I signed up for all online classes for that semester. I
eventually did have to go home, but I can definitely say, what started out as a
summer internship turned into much more.
Of course, the internship also looks great on my resume.
Working at PEN challenged me to improve my writing skills, and I got a great
feel for what it is like to work in a real life non- profit setting. I found
the passion of the people I was working with very inspiring as well; to be
working for something they really believed in.
A large part of the experience for me was all the new
friends I made while staying at a hostel in Brooklyn, called Loftstel when I
first arrived. I now have close friends that live in all corners of the world.
I met people from all over, many doing internships, or first moving to the city
to pursue their dreams, and careers. It was probably the best experience I have
had in my life.
This past summer I had the opportunity to spend six weeks
in New York interning at Human Rights Watch (HRW). This experience turned out
to be incredibly valuable and I am tremendously happy I did it. The experience
I gained was like none other that I had had before. In addition to this the
people I was able to work with were some of the most impressive people I had
ever met. If you are interested in Human Rights, international policy, or
international law, interning at a human rights organization be a career progressing and eye opening
In the first few days I was at HRW I was able to sit in
one upper level meetings and witness the decision making proses in opening
foreign satellite offices, hiring employees abroad, and handling controversial
issues such as criticizing powerful governments in an open international
setting. From my appointment in the program office I was able to get an overview
of how a human rights defence organization operates. The tasks I was given
allowed me to work independently and also gave me the opportunity to
piratically work along side some of the more experienced staff members.
The people at HRW particularly impressed me. They were
all extremely qualified in what they did and all seemed to have a passion for
protecting human rights. Most of the people I worked with had post graduate
degrees and all of htem had international work experience. Wether they had been
journalists, anthropological researchers, or members of foreign governments all
were able to give me substantial advice on how to progress my carer and obtain
My time at HRW opened my eyes to a world I had very
limited knowledge of before this summer. Working in an NGO provided me a
glimpse into how NGO's operate and how they advocate to governments and other
influential organizations such as the UN. I learned far more in six weeks that
I would in a semester in college. I would strongly encourage anyone looking to
enter this field to do an internship, more as a necessity than an option.
When I first contacted Professor Nancy Soderberg, I was
getting ready to graduate and contemplating my options for that summer after
graduation and before Graduate School. I told her my interest in working in an
international environment dealing with matters of international and global
significance, even though I was not sure what would be my role in that
scenario. In her counseling words, Professor Soderberg told me that it was
important to find what field inspired me now and try internships to see if it
fits. She immediately jumped to the task of finding me an internship abroad or
with an international agency. I was amazed by her eagerness to help students
and her dedication to my humble personal goal. Within a week, she had found me
the internship of my dreams: a summer internship with the United Nations World
Food Programme (WFP) in its headquarters in Rome, Italy. Could it get better?
Not only was it exactly what I wanted, but also the internship was in an agency
of the United Nations and in Italy!
About a month after graduation, I flew to Roma with
nothing but excitement, my bag and two Italian dictionaries. I was an intern in
the Risk Reduction and Disaster Mitigation unit of the Policy Division of WFP.
More specifically, I was a part of a joint project between WFP and the
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded by the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation to study and build new economic strategies to mitigate
the impact of disasters in the livelihoods of marginal farmers in countries
like Ethiopia, India, Thailand and China. It sounds complicated and I had not a
clue of what that meant or what my role would be in that project when I started
my internship. After four months, though, I was hired by WFP to finish a
research project I had started which studied reinsurance methods implemented in
20 countries to mitigate such disasters. I went to global meetings with experts
in the area (the funny part being that the three month-old intern was an
expert) and was invited to join the team in their field trip to India to
analyze implementations of the programme. My research essays were later
published in conjunction with the International Research Institute (IRI) at
Overall, I worked with WFP and lived in Rome, Italy for
almost a year, after which I had to go back to United States and start Graduate
School. The experience was challenging but incredible. I met many smart and
driven people from all around the world who strove to end hunger and better the
lives of marginal people living in the developing world. I met influential
people who work in the realm of politics and call the decisions, academics who
research, study and try to implement what politicians boast about, and
diplomats who try to close the gap between countries. I got exactly what I
expected and more from my internship with the World Food Programme: I was
face-to-face with the dynamics and demands of the international market of
helping people. Oh, and I speak Italian now. I cannot thank Professor Nancy
Soderberg enough for the experience I had. There are great opportunities for
students in the UNF campus. As an UNF alumna, my advice to current students is
to look for them and ask for an internship.
One of the most exciting and
eye opening courses at UNF “Real World Policy” allowed me to present a policy
paper at numerous government agencies in Washington, D.C., which led into being
accepted for an Internship with the State Department. Currently, I am in Miami,
Florida three weeks into my Internship interning with the State Department
Office of Foreign missions (OFM). I have met numerous foreign diplomats from
all over the world who are are busy serving their country on our soil.
I believe this internship is
a great experience for achieving my goals in future. This opportunity allows me
to better understand what it is to work for the State Department. I am planning
to continue my education after the internship and start graduate school. I am
eager to work for the State Department in the future. UNF and its distinguished professors, such as
Nancy Soderberg, have paved the way for my success.
My experience with Senator Martinez's office was life,
perspective and profession changing. After a mere 6 weeks working in the
Senator’s office, I had spent time in every aspect of legislative life and had
been able to actively participate in the wide range of services the Senator
offered to constituents.
Over the course of the internship, I worked with the
Staff Assistants to answer constituent phone calls, mail flags, track opinions,
run errands and do the expected scanning, filing and logging that every office
needs done to run smoothly. But as the internship progressed, I was given the
opportunity to write letters on the Senator’s behalf as a Legislative
Correspondent, write and present briefings on healthcare and upcoming
appointments, and attend staff meetings, important hearings and meet incredible
From the memory of taking an elevator ride with Senator
John McCain in the “Senators Only” elevator to shopping with Senator Leahy in
the Senate Gift Store to meeting presidential appointee to the Supreme Court
Sonia Sotomayor, I had the best experience working for Senator Martinez and
would strongly recommend it to any potential intern in the future.
2014 US Embassy Summer Internships
Yousra Hebeishy -- Paris, France
Natasha Rivera-Cordero - Skopje, Macedonia
Chris Gilman - Lima, Peru
Daria Judge - Moscow, Russia
Peace Corps 2014 Volunteers
Trey Marks - Indonesia
Shanna Beach - Cameroon
Logan Buzzell - Cameroon
Sciences Building 51, Room 2414
Hall- Building 2, Ste. 1100
Finding An Internship
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