Student Internships-Global Studies - Carnegie Mellon University

79-506 Global Studies Internship- Student Experiences

Kate Fisch, DC '14

Internship Site: The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
Internship Semester: Spring 2014

Experience Overview: As an Education Program intern, my responsibilities in the office were extremely varied. I was exposed to many different aspects of the Council and its programs through assisting with grant reports and applications, writing for the Council blog, and attending a variety of events. While I think that my internship experience relates quite readily to my professional skills and aspirations, my experience also drew upon my coursework in Global Studies in some profound ways. The most important connection was through my research and writing projects, especially through my pieces featured in the Council blog. For both pieces, on global and U.S. energy issues and the recent elections in Afghanistan, I drew on themes, insights, and even materials from two Global Studies courses.

Overall, I think my experience at the Council helped me to mature both professionally and intellectually, as it helped me to draw upon the themes, insights, and information I have learned through my courses and apply them to real world problems and ongoing issues. I found myself using critical analysis skills, and thinking about issues at the global, national, and local levels. I also gained some important professional and office skills that will have a positive effect on my future job search after graduation.

Jaclyn Stutz, DC '14

Internship Site: The Borgen Project
Internship Semester: Spring 2014

Experience Overview: My position, as a Writer Intern, was to contribute to the advocacy and outreach aspects of The Borgen Project. By writing four in-depth articles each week, published on the online blog or magazine, as well as participating in a weekly national conference call and contacting members of U.S. Congress via telephone and email, I learned a great deal about the ins and outs of advocacy and additionally gained an increased appreciation for the extent to which poverty affects international relations.

Increased globalization, while it has enhanced information exchange across peoples and nations, has also illuminated the fact that poverty is no longer a situation only for those in developing nations. In contrast, poverty is an issue in both the northern and southern hemispheres, and can be debilitating to populations on a global scale. None are immune to poverty, for it has to do with far more than a relatively simple lack of income. The Human Povery Index (HPI), developed by the UN Development Program, is based on the concept of a “denial of choices and opportunities for a tolerable life.” As such, poverty is evaluated by malnutrition, early death, access to healthcare, safe drinking water and illiteracy. In order to combat these various causes and symptoms of poverty, it is necessary to fight for sustained global development and increased global wealth.

Hannah Evans, DC '15

Internship Site: Global Solutions Pittsburgh
Internship Semester: Spring 2013

Experience Overview: This semester I worked as an intern for Global Solutions Pittsburgh, a non-profit, non-governmental organization located in downtown Pittsburgh.  The organization is linked with the founding of the World Federalist Association in 1947, and works to continue its mission of educating the public about world issues and bringing people together to discuss those issues. My official title was “Program Intern” and I worked primarily with my supervisor Tim Lessick. My duties included management of the Pittsburgh Human Rights Network Facebook and Twitter pages, the writing of a blog every week that focuses on international topics, and the planning of our group’s Community Outreach discussion in May that will focus on global women's rights. I certainly picked up a lot useful skills during my time at Global Solutions Pittsburgh through both good and bad experiences. I feel more confident now to be able to enter into the world of non-profit organizations and be successful.

Rachel Kuhn, DC '14

Internship Site: GlobalPittsburgh
Internship Semester: Spring 2013

Experience Overview: Working at GlobalPittsburgh was an interesting and rewarding experience. GlobalPittsburgh aims to improve the global competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region by building a network of individuals, corporations, leaders, and educational institutions who aspire to make lasting connections on an international level. I worked closely with GlobalPittsburghCONNECT, the organization’s membership program, which endeavors to connect international residents and the local community. GlobalPittsburgh arranges homestays, hospitality dinners, and year-round events for its members, which gives both international and local individuals opportunities to interact. During my internship, I frequently helped out with a GlobalPittsburgh event known as First Thursdays. This monthly event is held in East Liberty’s AVA Lounge and creates a casual environment in which both members and nonmembers can interact and network with other globally-minded individuals. These First Thursday events grew in size over the course of my short time working with the organization, and I am proud to have had some input into the improvement of these important opportunities.

Overall, my time at GlobalPittsburgh altered my perception of Pittsburgh by showing me how culturally diverse and globally relevant the city is. At the beginning of my internship experience, I was unsure how such a small organization could have a global impact. Now I understand that globalization has propelled GlobalPittsburgh’s mission by making it easier and more desirable for inhabitants of the Pittsburgh region to interact with members of the global community. I appreciate this opportunity to work with GlobalPittsburgh’s talented and enthusiastic staff and volunteers and to meet a variety of remarkable individuals within the Pittsburgh region.

Julia Hanby, DC '12

Internship Site: JF&CS Refugee Resettlement Program
Internship Semester: Spring 2012

Experience Overview: I had an incredible internship experience with Jewish Family and Children's Service of Pittsburgh. As a refugee services intern, I learned firsthand about refugee resettlement in Pittsburgh, which complemented my Global Studies Advanced Seminar project. My responsibilities included coordinating apartment setups for arriving refugees and accompanying them to appointments at hospitals, the Social Security Office, and the Department of Public Welfare. I had the opportunity to learn more about the clients' cultures and experiences, yet I also faced many language and cultural barriers. My time with JF&CS was both challenging and highly gratifying, and I am honored to have played a small part in some refugees' journeys as they found Pittsburgh to be their new home.

Christian Aponte, DC '13

Internship Site: Jovenes Sin Nombres
Internship Semester: Spring 2012

Experience Overview: Jovenes Sin Nombres began with a group of friends, artists, academics, and community activists who had a dream that a progressive Latino youth movement could draw attention to the emergent Latino community largely unrecognized by the wider Pittsburgh community. Latinos are the city's fastest growing immigrant population, but still they remain invisible to the wider population. Thus, the group found a necessary cause to fill. However, throughout the past year many of the youth involved in the organization have become more involved in studies or work. The Jovenes are becoming adultos in a increasing more difficult nation where their status as residents wavers back and forth, resting in the hands of policy makers.

I have had an interesting time throughout my internship with JSN. I began with so much energy and very many ideas and being that many of them were not realized. What I learned the most is that organizational development is a challenging process. Diagnosing organizational ills and helping design strategies to strengthen organizations are important aspects of maintain a movement's vitality. On the other hand, members and leaders of a movement must believe they are working towards the same goals. The mission is the starting point for keeping an organization focused and effective.

Sarah Wiernicki, DC '13

Internship Site: The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
Internship Semester: Fall 2011

Experience Overview: My experience as an intern for The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh during the Fall 2011 academic semester has been an incredible opportunity. I worked primarily in the School Outreach and International Affairs Education Program. The internship has undoubtedly contributed to my overall growth as an ambitious student, and enhancement of my perspective of globalization in our world today. I believe that I am more knowledgeable on current world crisis, and international governmental involvement in response to humanitarian aid on a global scale. Through this experience, I have gained a working knowledge of the mission, practices, accomplishments, and limitations of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, I have been able to put theory into practice regarding the communication of issues and ideas in an effort to facilitate globalization and I have achieved a more refined vision of what my future purpose and goals might be in working for and with transnational NGOs.

My experience this semester has not so much altered my understanding of globalization, but has enhanced it. I have achieved a more refined vision of what my future purpose and goals might be in working for and with transnational NGOs and I have a better understanding of the importance and contribution of various organizations.

Marielle Saums, DC '13

Internship Site: Building New Hope
Internship Semester: Fall 2011

Experience Overview: Interning with Building New Hope (BNH) informed my understanding of how small nongovernment organizations meditate between international and domestic obligations. These groups struggle to balance their ideals with the methods required to reach their goals in a sustainable manner due to logistical limitations. In particular, the restrictions of transnational and cross-cultural communication are the primary impediments to creating a sustainable initiative. My involvement also challenged my perceptions of how NGOs can positively impact communities abroad and forced me to think critically about cross-cultural interactions. Closely examining the accomplishments and struggles of BNH also spurred me to think of alternative approaches that small NGOs can use to address fundamental discrepancies.

An internship experience with Building New Hope is comprised mostly of independent projects in writing, design, and organization outreach. Interns can expect to meet with a Building New Hope advisor about once every week and to assist with more interactive projects such as coffee packing, vendor sales, and educational events. A Building New Hope internship gives students creative freedom and independence while also teaching them how to successfully work on small group projects. The staff encourages collaborations that give interns direct influence over important materials for the organization, emphasizing the value of intern contributions. Specific projects completed during a semester-long internship included creating documents to help organize outreach events and designing a brochure.