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2017 Summer International Internship Scholarship Recipients

The 2017 International Internship Scholarship Recipients shared reflections on their experiences thanks to the Reves Center Scholarships. To learn more about how to help make these internships and other opportunities possible for students, please contact [[jdav3,Judy Davis]] or learn more on our website.

Leo Blumberg-Woll '19
John Callahan J.D. '19
Shani Cave '19
Ghalia Estaiteyeh '18
Kelsey Knitter J.D. '18
Grace Kier '20
Liam Kierans '18
Danielle Makia J.D. '19
Tyler Mlakar '19
Sue Su '19
Thomas Taft '18
Leo BlumbergLeo Blumberg-Woll '19

Leo Blumberg-Woll is majoring in Government and Economics. His extracurricular activities involve Greek Life, Public Relations Chair of Consulting Club, and Admissions Intern. His focus is on sustainable investing and loves learning about new ways investing can help the environment and the world around him.

This summer, I interned at the Urban Institute, a primarily domestic-based think tank in Washington D.C. Despite it being a mainly domestic think tank, I was fortunate enough to work in the policy center that is centered around international development and governance. Additionally, I worked under the director of the policy center, Dr. Chas Cadwell. I went into the internship with mixed feelings and ended up being so happy I chose to intern there. During my time there, I worked primarily on two projects. The first was called the Urban Health in Asia (UHA) contract. This contract examined the rapid urbanization of five primary countries in Asia: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam. The idea of the project was to examine how to effectively help the problems arising in these countries before they happen, and potentially instill these hopeful policies/concepts elsewhere. The reasoning behind this project was that throughout recent history, bigger organizations would donate money to these developing countries after the problem had already happened. While that may solve the problem for the moment, this doesn’t fix the underlying structural problems that remain within these countries. Additionally, these bigger organizations would donate for one specific problem, when in reality, each region, even town/village has their own primary problem that won’t be helped if the contributions by these big organizations is going towards something else. Using past research and other organizations, we tried to come up with a way to help effectively prioritize these issues in these very specific areas.

Secondly, in 2010 Kenya added a new amendment to their constitution stating that they would have a county level government, in addition to their local and federal levels. Partnering with a local organization in Kenya and making use of a measurement tool called the County Capacity Index, we tried to help pinpoint crucial issues in each of these counties so that the government could prioritize and damage these issues. We did this through surveys, research, and regression analysis. Throughout summer, I was able to attend great events ranging from problems with the Ugandan government at USAID to learning how to effectively read and analyze research at World Learning Inc. I was able to hone my research skills and develop my reading/analytical abilities much further. It was a great summer.

John Callahan J.D. '19Callahan_200.jpg

John grew up on a farm in central Virginia. After receiving a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia in 2013, he moved to Washington, DC, to work as a policy specialist in the international trade practice of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Three years later, John enrolled at William & Mary Law School. John is on the school’s Business Law Review, serves as a teaching assistant for a group of LL.M. students, and is on the board of the International Law Society and the Asian Law Students Association. Upon graduation from law school, he plans to return to a law firm in DC to work on international trade matters.

This summer, I served as a legal intern within the Office of the General Counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) in Washington, D.C. As part of the Executive Office of the President, USTR develops and coordinates U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policies, and oversees all trade negotiations with other countries. The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice to the U.S. Trade Representative, Deputy U.S. Trade Representatives, and other USTR offices on negotiations, agreements, trade legislation, trade remedies, administrative law, and government ethics. Additionally, the office monitors compliance by foreign governments with their obligations under international trade agreements with the United States and prosecutes and defends cases in WTO and U.S. free trade agreement dispute settlement proceedings.

I spent most of the summer working on a Department of Commerce report that analyzed China’s non-market economy (NME) status in the WTO. Specifically, I helped research and write portions of the report’s “Rule of Law” section, which included a thorough account of China’s legal system and how the Communist Party uses the legislature and the courts to implement various policy goals. We discovered that, when a commercial dispute arises between a local and foreign business, the latter is not likely to get a fair shake in Chinese court because courts in China cannot exercise full judicial independence, and that is illustrative of how government intervention influences economic outcomes. In addition to the NME report, I researched how US courts recognize and enforce foreign judgments, attended a series of day-long hearings on NAFTA renegotiation, combed through past WTO cases and other official material to find support for US positions in current WTO disputes, and handled other trade policy research projects as needed.

I thoroughly enjoyed my summer at USTR, and I am very grateful that the Reves Scholarship allowed me to take advantage of such an opportunity. My biggest takeaway from the summer was getting a better sense of trade policy work from a government perspective. Whereas law firms often configure a shorter-term solution to a client’s problem, government agencies like USTR must take a longer view of how their policies will affect the work of other agencies, US stakeholders, and the American people in general. I hope to return to USTR later in my career to work alongside bright minds who are committed to help solve increasingly complex international trade problems.

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Shani is a junior at the College double majoring in Chinese Studies and Marketing. She has studied abroad in China three times, the most recent being a semester in Beijing, China through W&M’s Tsinghua University exchange program. She loved Beijing so much, she stayed another three months after her semester was over to intern for Project Pengyou. Shani is passionate about U.S.-China exchange and hopes to live and work in Beijing sometime after graduation. 

On my first day interning for Project Pengyou, I walked into the hutong courtyard office on 鼓楼东大街 (Gulou East Street) and was greeted by two smiling faces of women who were only a few years older than me. These women were Alyssa, Executive Director with a fine eye for detail and taste for 土豆丝 (potato floss) and Devin, Community Engagement Manager and acapella superwoman: my new bosses and soon-to-be inspiring mentors and valuable friends.

Over the five months of my internship (two months part-time during my spring semester abroad and three months full-time during the summer) Devin and Alyssa personally demonstrated to me the skills needed to be a graceful yet persistent leader - through their focus and transparency, level-headed patience, willingness to work alongside rather than above their interns, and ability to inspire creativity through the outpouring of their own passion. I only grew as a leader and a young professional when adopting these traits into my own practices.

When new interns joined the office during the summer session, I took on a leadership role in guiding them in their daily tasks and sharing with them my knowledge of the job. Patience, confidence, and positivity were the cornerstones of building my skills in delegation, compromise and collaboration as a strong leader. When students from other organizations visited our office, I spoke with them as a representative of Project Pengyou and developed my voice and passion for U.S.-China bridge-building and the organization’s mission. 

I woke up excited everyday to work in our small office of six women. It was through laughing with my co-workers and chatting with the people that visited our courtyard in which I saw the mission and purpose of our non-profit organization brought to fruition. The day-to-day, person-to-person interactions are the small-scale stepping stones to fostering greater interaction between the two countries. Interning for Project Pengyou has mobilized me as a U.S.-China bridge-builder, in constructing positive U.S.-China relations for the future and in serving, inspiring and transforming lives.This video I spearheaded aims to promote Project Pengyou’s internship program and provide insight into typical intern work. 

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Ghalia Estaiteyeh is pursuing a Government degree and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She hopes to pursue a law degree after completing her undergraduate studies. On campus, she is involved in independent academic research regarding women's legal rights and court systems in Middle Eastern countries. She is also a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

This summer, I spent my time absorbed in the world of international law. As an intern at the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) in Washington, D.C., I was placed at the center of foreign affairs; surrounded by passionate, dedicated professionals. As someone with a profound interest in global affairs and an aspiration to pursue a career in law, my internship deeply satisfied my curiosity and opened my eyes to the endless opportunities available in the field.

International law is not for the faint of heart. Lawyers in the practice are frequently faced with cases that involve sensitive and historically significant regional conflicts. This could mean prosecuting war criminals, fostering peace negotiations, or implementing transitional justice mechanisms globally.

My internship allowed me to see the true love that the employees at PILPG had for their professions. Even with the strenuous conditions that the work can bring, the lawyers were devoted and optimistic. Many of them spoke other languages fluently, were highly culturally aware, and constantly travelled across the world. PILPG has field offices in countries like Burma, Iraq, and Kenya, as well as at The Hague in the Netherlands, which lawyers journey to for workshops and meetings.

Further, the interns were all able to attend brown bags throughout the summer with various members of the organization as they detailed their experiences in all parts of the world. Each case was fascinating to hear about, and the lawyers were eager to tell their stories and share their wisdom. From small cultural tidbits to greater legal concepts, there was so much information to grasp and engage with.

Interning at PILPG was necessary and enlightening to me. This experience has sparked a great sense of internal inspiration. It has truly shown me the diverse sides of a career in law, and particularly in international law. I am sincerely grateful to the Reves Center for International Studies for encouraging me to pursue this opportunity.

Kelsey Knitter J.D. '18kelsey_knitter_200.jpg

Kelsey Knitter is a third-year law student at William & Mary Law School. Originally from California, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in international relations. She spent her first summer of law school working for a human rights organization in South Africa where she conducted research on apartheid-era cases and helped victims obtain reparations from the government. This summer, she had the opportunity to work for Mariscal & Abogados, an international law firm in Madrid, where she learned about international corporate and employment law.

As an American law student, I was thrilled by the opportunity to work with Mariscal & Abogados and become familiar with the international legal field. At Mariscal, I worked in various areas of corporate, commercial and employment law involving European and American clients. Thus, I quickly became adept in the varying aspects of the Spanish and European legal systems in the three-month period I with Mariscal.

 My work consisted primarily in preparing legal documents for the team of international attorneys. This often consisted in translating documents from English to Spanish or vice versa. I further helped revise numerous legal documents to ensure they were ready to be sent to the international clients. I also carried out research related to Franchise law in Spain and the United States and prepared an article for publication on such issues.

Overall, my stay at Mariscal helped me to learn the complex Spanish and European legal systems, improve my level of Spanish, and become familiar with how an international law firm functions in todays world. This was a rewarding experience that has not only expanded my legal knowledge, but my broadened career possibilities. 

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Grace Kier studies Russian and mathematics. She is a 1693 Scholar, a member of Alpha Phi Omega (a co-ed service fraternity), and is managing editor for The Monitor: Journal of International Studies, the College’s international relations journal.   

This summer I completed an internship at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) in Arlington, Virginia. ADST is a nonprofit organization which advances understanding of American diplomacy and supports training of foreign affairs personnel at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI).

At ADST I worked on several projects, including writing Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History which are interesting stories, case studies, and anecdotes extracted from the extensive oral history database at ADST. The organization records oral histories of Foreign Service Officers to preserve their experiences for future generations. I wrote two such Moments, one which discussed the August 1991 coup attempt in the Soviet Union and the other which described the experience of a Foreign Service Officer posted to the Vatican in the late 1980s; this FSO worked with other diplomats to resolve the Noriega crisis and try to contain Communism in Eastern Europe.

My other projects included developing podcasts from the Moments series and updating the ADST archive of “Country Readers,” which are compilations of excerpts from oral history interviews discussing the subjects’ work in a particular country. These “Readers” are read by new Foreign Service Officers when they receive a new country post assignment. I also directed a demographic project that follows the interviewees by looking  at varying factors to determine the different types of people involved in the Foreign Service, including military involvement, Peace Corps tours, and family backgrounds.

During my time in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to attend many events held at the Foreign Service Institute and around the city: I attended presentations at the Newseum, the Hudson Institute, the Institute of World Politics, the Middle East Institute, the Cato Institute, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). I saw Senator Ben Cardin deliver the opening address at NED, and also saw former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speak at the National Press Club. At the end of my internship I was able to attend a press briefing at the State Department led by spokeswoman Heather Nauert, which was also attended by journalists including Andrea Mitchell.

Overall, I am grateful that I had the opportunity this summer to learn about diplomacy, the State Department, and world affairs. Given my newfound knowledge I will likely be able to pursue a career in the future that combines my experience from this internship with my passion for Russian studies. 

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Kierans is a double major in Government and Chinese. He hopes to become a Foreign Service Generalist with the expectation of going into consular work. He is involved with the International Relations club, Amnesty International, a fraternity, and soccer. 

Both of my parents are in the foreign service currently, with my father starting about ten years after my mother. My father works with Information Technology at Embassy Havana while my mother is currently on the Grievance Board. I have lived in London, Recife, Reykjavik, Brussels, The Hague, Moscow, Washington, and finally Beijing (which was studying abroad, not a post).

This summer I had the privilege of being able to intern at the United States Agency for International Development's US Global Development Lab. I had little knowledge of what I would be doing before I began, and now that it is finished I am delighted to recount the wide range of projects and activities in which I participated.

My first project entailed creating a “competitive market analysis” for the Global Innovation Exchange, a platform started in the Lab that currently sits at a non-profit. The final product was a 33-page analysis of the GIE and its competitors, which was forwarded on to my office at USAID and the team in charge of the website and its development. Subsequently, I jumped in with the communications team of the Center for Development Initiatives to plan the upcoming Global Innovation Week in October. This year is the first time USAID is hosting this enormous collaboration between investors and innovators, so the project needed everything from A/V contractor setup to executive summary sheets for the companies looking to expand.

Toward the midpoint of the summer I had the opportunity to volunteer at two conferences, serving in a host of roles. At the first conference, the Saving Lives @ Birth DevelopmentXChange, I was primarily a note taker for seminars where entrepreneurs shared their stories. These were stories from the field, primarily in Africa, where brilliant minds were hard at work saving the lives of both mothers and their children. The second conference at which I volunteered, the Young African Leaders Initiative Summit, was just as inspiring in a completely different way. At YALI, I sat alongside USAID employees at the Agency’s booth for three days. I represented the Agency to Africa’s brightest young minds and future leaders, promoting its goals and explaining opportunities for partnership with the agency. Not only that, but I was allowed to live-tweet the summit’s main events from USAID Africa’s Twitter account. This was by far my favorite part of the internship experience — getting to interact with the people who are going to change the future of the development world.

All together, this internship was crucial in helping me accomplish my goal of experiencing international work within the federal government. I met amazing people and learned the role the US plays in global development.

Danielle Makia J.D. '19danielle_makia_200.jpg

This summer Danielle's scholarship enabled her to be an intern in the legal department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington, D.C. The IFC is a subsidiary of The World Bank Group; it is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset-management services to encourage private-sector development in developing countries.

I was initially hired to assist the department’s Special Operations attorneys with drafting transactional agreements and documents, but worked on a variety of projects for attorneys in different groups within the department. My daily tasks consisted of the following: reviewing deal-specific term sheets and agreements against standard IFC documentation for accuracy and completion; and assisting Senior and General Counsel with preparing powers of attorney, confidentiality agreements, fund management agreements, mandate letters, and other documentation to commence work on debt, equity, and project financing transactions throughout Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Africa. I also helped write and put together the Corporation’s Diversity and Inclusion Report for fiscal year 2017.

I had always had an interest in working on international transactions and projects as an attorney and my summer internship at the IFC exposed me to this type of work. As most of the agreements and transactional documents I was drafting were Project Finance-related, the learning curve was very steep for me. However, I learned a lot about the work involved for a project to be successfully financed by an institution like the IFC. My work at the Corporation this summer has influenced my desire to pursue corporate, transactional work at an international institution like IFC further down the line in my legal career. If not for my Reves Center’s Summer Internship Scholarship award, I would not have had the opportunity to work on IFC projects in my family’s native country, Cameroon, and a host of others, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Croatia, France, Kenya, and Mauritius, and others.

I am grateful for the Reves Center’s awarding me an opportunity to gain such insightful experience through a life-changing internship at an international institution like the IFC.

Tyler Mlakar '19tyler_mlakar_photo_200.jpg

Tyler Mlakar's major is currently still undeclared, however he is pursuing a double major in international relations and economics.  His interests in the field of international relations are largely concerned with the relationship between China and the United States, with a focus on the South China Sea dilemma.  He is also passionate about the intersection of climate change and international relations.  Upon graduation he intends to obtain a law degree and work in the field of international law. 

I am writing to express my gratitude for having been awarded a FUSE scholarship from the Reves Center.  My internship this summer was with R2M Solutions, an innovation technology transfer company with corporate headquarters Pavia, Italy. The location of R2M complemented my studies, as I am studying the Italian language and was able to practice my Italian in Pavia with my co-workers. My largest contribution to R2M was for their Nature4Cities project.  Nature4Cities is an EU-funded, €7.5M, 4-year project including 26 partners from 9 European countries. Its objective is to use relevant nature-based solutions (NBS) to entice businesses and urban-planners to be more environmentally and economically friendly.

R2M’s primary role in the Nature4Cities project is utilizing innovative technology to detail, map, and characterize existing NBS implementation models throughout Europe. The members of the Nature4Cities project all contributed to a consortium-wide blog used to collect case studies using varying implementation models.  My job was to sort through the droves of data with a fine-tooth comb and determine which case studies were relevant, and present them to the task leader. 

Additionally, I assisted in drafting a data management plan.  Since the project is EU-funded, much of the data generated is intended to be shared as a public good.  However, many of the contributors are private companies and in working on the Nature4Cities project may develop a marketable product.  The plan is therefore crucial and highly sensitive because its purpose is to “balance openness and protection of scientific information, commercialization and Intellectual Property Rights,” while to also “improve and maximize access to and re-use of research data generated by the project,” (Horizon2020 Programme). Experiencing this challenge of striking the right “balance” firsthand has given me insight on developing effective international relations policies.

The Nature4Cities project exposed me to the possibilities that NBS have for not only mitigating climate change, but also solving some of the world’s most challenging social problems.  Unfortunately, the United States has not yet accepted or pursued the idea of NBS as a matter of broad public policy.  Going forward, I intend to maintain communication with R2M and will co-author a paper for publication comparing the role of public governance in the planning, policy making, and implementation of NBS in the U.S. and E.U.  In doing so, I hope to increase the potential of NBS by leveraging the success of the European Union here in the United States.

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Yifan (Sue) Su is majoring in Government and minoring in Philosophy. Su served as a Research Assistant at AidData, Undergraduate Intern at W&M Policy Review, Social Vice President of Pi Sigma Alpha, Director of Outreach at International Relations Club, Founding Chair of the American Enterprise Institute Executive Council, Shift Leader at College Partnership for Kids, Site Leader and Co-Fundraising Chair at Branch Out Alternative Breaks. She is also a member of the College Admission Policy Advisory Committee, Debate Society, Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, and Theatre Student Association. 

My experience over the past two months with Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) has been truly rewarding. I have learned so much from my co-workers’ professionalism, work ethics, high-quality work products, and valuable advice. I have especially enjoyed the mentorship, companionship, and collegiality from my South Sudan Documentation Team and Strategic Communications Team. Overall, it is an incredible internship experience, and is greatly helpful in shaping and informing my academic and career paths in the future.

From populating our PILPG child database as a part of 23 global OpenEvSys databases under Human Rights Documentation Initiative, to completing development research reports on 36 PILPG donors or foundations for PILPG’s renewed development strategy, I had the valuable chance to see first-hand this exciting field of international law as well as non-profit management. I admire PILPG’s work and its cause that everyone firmly stands behind, providing legal assistance to state and non-state actors with peace negotiations, war crime prosecution, and transitional justice. I am even more grateful to be involved and able to work directly on various substantial matters as an undergraduate.

All the research and drafting work for various projects, including Coalitions in Civil Conflict and Human Rights in Peace for the SRF Sudan Team, greatly helped hone my legal analysis and writing skills. Our unique comparative state practice memo and core elements memo, that I was thankful to learn about during specific projects as well as writing workshops, gave me a glimpse of concise and effective legal writing, helpful for future assignments both in law school and in workplace. The Intellectual Property Library containing past work products, that PILPG generously shared with all the interns, was highly informative and eye-opening for me to read through and learn about our work.

On the marketing and communications side, I was lucky to be looped in the Stratcom Team, managing social media presence especially for the last three weeks. From daily posts on all platforms to weekly analytics assessment, it was interesting to grasp the tactics for promoting company image and highlighting our work. I also jumped in on both our new company website and the orientation training website design. It was fulfilling not only to learn about website development from scratch, but also to continuously improve and then appreciate the final products.

Thanks again to the Reves Center and all the generous donors for the support! 

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Thomas Taft is majoring in international relations. He’s passionate about driving growth and creating value through international connections. Previously, Thomas worked as an International Trade Intern at the U.S. Commercial Service. This past summer, he was a Global Partnerships Associate at MassChallenge, a no-equity-taken startup accelerator in the Boston area. On campus, he leads trips through the Tribe Adventure Program and is a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity.

One of the best (and worst) parts of being an international relations major is the lack of a clear career path. My first internship was with the Department of Commerce, which I had pursued due to my interest in government and economics. Upon reflection after the internship, two things were clear: I loved working on international projects and I loved creating value. Heading into my junior year, I looked for the best way to pursue these passions.

MassChallenge is the world’s most startup friendly accelerator. With zero equity taken, startups have access to free mentorship and office space, information sessions and networking events, and lots of free coffee. The Boston innovation ecosystem has practically been built around MassChallenge – it is a truly unique hub of entrepreneurship and growth.

Had I been exposed to the idea of working at MassChallenge at the beginning of my college experience, I would have been far less interested. However, an opening on the Global Partnerships team now seemed like the perfect fit. I would have the chance to work on international projects designed to help startups win, which would create value in the process. Upon my acceptance, I entered the internship hoping to accomplish this goal through direct interfacing with clients and analytical work.

The work I did at MassChallenge turned out to be a perfect fit. I was able to interface with clients by assisting on or leading international tours and visits. I was able to research innovation ecosystems, create briefings, and even draft and edit partnership contracts. Through my internship, I was able to accomplish my professional goals in conjunction with my passions.

Working at MassChallenge was not without its challenges (no pun intended). The startup environment is far more volatile than the federal government. The pace was fast and constantly evolving. I worked at two different offices, depending on where the startups needed to be. However, these challenges were paramount to my professional growth, and I am fortunate to have experienced them.

I never would have imagined working with entrepreneurs when I first entered college. I now know that there are so many incredible opportunities to create growth on an international level. As a senior this year, I look forward to pursuing these opportunities in my professional life.