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2019 Summer International Internship Scholarship Recipients

List of summer scholarship recipients' bios and reflections

The 2019 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 Dianne Alleman or learn more on our website.

Jenna Iskandar '21
Laura Schwartz '20
Carter Trousdale '20

Jenna Iskandar '21Jenna Iskandar

Jenna Iskandar is a junior at the university double majoring in International Relations and Chinese Language and Culture. At W&M she is the director of operations for the Monitor, captain of Zodiacs Dance Crew and is a freshman Resident Assistant. Over the past summer she interned with the U.S. Department of State in the American Consulate in Guangzhou, China. She has also spent time as a research assistant for AidData in the Global Research Institute. Post-graduation she hopes to put her area-expertise and passion for public affairs to use in a public sector career. 

Due to generous funding from the Reves Center, I was able to pursue an 11-week long internship with the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. I spent my time as an intern in the Public Affairs division and was able to gain unique insight into the current state of U.S.-China public relations. 

As an International Relations and Chinese Language and Culture double major, I was able to add depth and expertise to what I have learned in the classroom. The opportunity to learn from career diplomats and get a taste for working life with the State Department was invaluable.

The highlights of my summer were: meeting the U.S. Ambassador to China, creating a gif that garnered over 1 million views on the Consulate’s Weibo account, and the implementation of a month-long social media campaign countering disinformation about travelling to and studying in the United States.

Beyond my tangible achievements, I was able to form meaningful relationships with my cohort of interns and the diplomats I worked alongside. Funding from the Reves Center made it so that I did not have to worry about finances, and I could instead pour my energy into meeting and connecting with countless individuals. The people I met and the experiences I was able to have were what made my summer truly unforgettable.

I am truly grateful that I was able to complete my dream internship. It cemented my desire to work in the public sector and, in showing me what potential career paths lie ahead, has motivated me to work hard towards my future goals. In the years to come I hope to be able to help other students find their passion and pursue their goals just as I have been helped.

Laura Schwartz '20Laura Schwartz

Laura Schwartz is a senior at William & Mary from Washington, D.C. She is majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics. On campus, Schwartz is a research fellow for Medical Aid Nicaragua Outreach: Scholarship (MANOS), a research assistant at the Center for African Development, and a Monroe Scholar. She also worked as a student researcher in the Political Psychology in International Relations Lab (PPIR). She is also a member of the Tribe Women’s Rugby team, where she served as captain in spring 2019. This year, she is looking forward to getting more involved with campus advocacy groups and has joined Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood, UndocuTribe, and the Williamsburg Sunrise Movement. Schwartz is passionate about international development with a concentration in Latin America and Africa. After graduation, she intends to conduct international development fieldwork in either Latin America or East Africa. After gaining practical fieldwork experience, she will pursue postgraduate degrees in international law and international development.

This past summer, I interned with the State Department with the support of a Reves Center Summer International Internship Scholarship. I worked in the political and economic section of the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay, where I had the opportunity to learn how the United States works bilaterally with the Paraguayan government on political and economic issues.

For the first part of the summer, I worked in coordination with the American Chamber of Commerce in Paraguay (AmCham Paraguay). Both AmCham and the Embassy had their own lists of U.S. companies operating in Paraguay and I combined the lists into one large database tracking all U.S. companies acting in Paraguay. I also tracked U.S. infrastructure companies that are active in Latin America and reached out to their investor relations offices to solicit their interest in learning about infrastructure tender opportunities in Paraguay.

On the political end, I researched and monitored high-profile corruption cases. Every day, I read multiple newspaper articles in Spanish that discussed high-level officials facing corruption allegations. I made a database tracking these individuals and highlighted the crimes for which they were accused, details of their cases, any dubious connections they had, and the status of their cases (e.g. if an individual had been indicted, sent to pre-trial detention, etc.).

I was in Asunción during a particularly eventful time; the Paraguayan president was facing a strong possibility of impeachment. During that period, the environment in the Embassy was hectic. I helped my section track the party-affiliation composition of the Paraguayan congress. Essentially, we attempted to do the political math to determine the likelihood of impeachment and worked to keep Washington updated on the situation.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working at the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay. One of my goals was to come out of this summer with improved Spanish, and now I can confidently say that I am professionally proficient in Spanish. I learned a lot about how the U.S. government operates and saw first-hand the nature of foreign service officers’ work. I am grateful for this experience and the generosity of those with whom I worked. Everyone was invested in ensuring that I had a meaningful experience, and everyone was available to answer any questions I had. My summer work experience was transformative, giving me valuable insights into my career trajectory and what I value in the workplace.

Carter Trousdale '20Carter Trousdale

Originally from Chicago, Carter Trousdale is a senior at William & Mary where he studies international relations with interests in international security and the Francophone and Middle Eastern spheres. He hopes to pursue a career in federal management consulting after graduation.

Carter is a Gates Scholar, a Gilman Scholar, and a former NCAA varsity athlete. So far, he has worked for the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, a Washington DC consulting firm, his business school, an innovation collaboratory, and a multinational French tennis company. In his free time he volunteers as a personal trainer and enjoys playing piano, guitar, and ukulele.

He interned at the US Department of State, Bureau of European Affairs and Eurasian Affairs – EUR/Public Affairs Office, NATO.

This summer I interned in the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. I have never worked with kinder or more competent coworkers in my life. Foreign Service Officers are fun, humorous, and intensely bright.

I am proud to say that I was able to make substantial contributions to the work of our office. I created the first comprehensive USNATO advertising strategy using data-driven solutions. This framework will streamline all advertising processes going forward. I also built algorithms to optimize the decision-making for large budgets, saving supervisors time and effort.