Currently viewing the tag: "Internships"
I still haven’t run into Roxanne, our student blogger, now in her second year, but just before classes began she was kind to send me a report on her summer in Colombia. In a busy week, there’s nothing like being able to draw on unexpected blog contributions! Here’s Roxanne’s report on a fascinating summer.
As I type these words, I sit surrounded by papers full of Fletcher information: 2013-2014 course offerings, capstone project submission forms, registration requirements for international students. September has always been my favorite time of year because there is a sense of renewal and possibility in the air — not to mention that it is the start of fall! Anyone who has spent time in New England, as I did as a college student in Boston, can appreciate the crisper air and the first signs of leaves turning red.
Despite my love of fall, I am not quite ready to part with the lingering memories of the summer. As Jessica mentioned in an earlier blog post, the majority of my energy this summer was channeled towards a field research project in Colombia. Under the guidance of Professor Dyan Mazurana, and in affiliation with local organizations, I designed and implemented a study on the gender dimensions of enforced disappearances. Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court lists enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity and defines it as:
Enforced disappearance of persons means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
In Colombia, similarly to other countries with a high reported rate of enforced disappearances, the majority of the missing are men and the majority of the surviving family members who initiate and/or lead the search process for the missing are women. As part of my research, I interviewed both surviving family members of the missing and “key informants” — government, NGO, and international organization officials who could discuss the topic in their professional capacity. Through these interviews, I sought to shed more light on a number of questions: How does enforced disappearance impact the surviving family members of the missing person? Where and how do surviving family members of the missing fit within the victims’ groups and their narratives? How does the memory of the missing, and the experience of their family members, figure into the creation of collective memory?
The process of creating this summer project provided a glimpse into the rituals of the academic world. First, I consulted with both Professor Mazurana and the local partners to set the parameters of the research and understand how the local context in Colombia would affect my research design and methods. Then I sought the approval of the Institutional Review Board, the organization that ensures that all research involving human subjects is ethical. This involved devising interview questions, drafting consent forms, and thinking of strategies to protect my interviewees’ privacy, confidentiality, and security without subjecting them to unnecessary risks or costs. Once I arrived in Colombia, the focus shifted to identifying whom to interview, with an eye towards the inclusion of multiple, diverse voices and perspectives. Journalists, government officials, NGO leaders, victims’ group advocates, academics, jurists, and community leaders are among the groups that helped me with my research. The fall and winter will consist of processing the data I collected and identifying patterns that emerged from the research. I am looking forward to developing more robust qualitative research skills in order to complete this task.
A few other experiences round up my summer: speaking alongside Professor Mazurana at the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Non-Violent Conflict on the topic of gender and non-violent movements, presenting my work on wartime sexual violence at the Women in International Security conference in Toronto, Canada, serving as an international consultant to an organization in Pakistan seeking to conduct a conflict assessment on access to education, and riding a tandem bike across Boston on every beautiful day this summer could muster. I must admit to feeling fatigued, inspired, grateful, overwhelmed, and lucky all at once. Free time during the next few days will hold catch-ups with Fletcher friends, sleep, and outdoor adventures, before the air gets too crisp. Next time you hear from me, I will have fully entered my second year at Fletcher!
Maybe Mirza’s internship report yesterday made you wonder about other students’ internships, or maybe you want to read internship reports from further afield. Or maybe you’re not really interested in internships, but you still want to know what people are doing. If any of those is the case, you’ll want to check out two sources of info. The first is the Fletcher Admissions Facebook page, where we’re posting photos that students have sent from wherever they are in the world. Scroll through and check them out.
The other source of information and stories about summer break activities for Fletcher students is their own blogs. I asked some students if I could share their writing with Admissions Blog readers, and I hope you’ll want to read what they’re up to. In alpha order, here they are. If they tweet, I’ve included their twitter pages, too.
Andra Bosneag, in India, writing as a Peace Fellow with The Advocacy Project.
Nathan Kennedy, offering post-graduation opinions and analysis.
Zane Preston has been in or near Cairo.
Phoebe Randel, working in Nairobi.
Emerson Tuttle is in Rome working for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and traveling around the Italian countryside.
Tagged with: Internships
Unlike most of my Fletcher classmates, I am doing my internship in Boston this summer. It’s just across the river and a couple of subway stops away from Fletcher, so it has been quite an easy adjustment for me. I am working at the State Department of Higher Education where I am exploring how new educational technology initiatives can help close achievement gaps in public higher education in Massachusetts. I was lucky to find a paid internship, as part of the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Summer Fellowship Program. (For the incoming students interested in Greater Boston and public policy, I would highly suggest visiting their website to learn more about the application process for the following summer.)
I discovered the fellowship by chance. The Office of Career Services (OCS) organized an information session in the fall which I (randomly) decided to attend. I really liked what I heard, so I followed up, kept in touch, went in for an informational interview, and submitted my application in mid-January (in fact, just before leaving for the Fletcher ski trip). I took a bit of a risk by not exploring other internship opportunities (not recommended!), though I knew that if my application were not selected, I would still have time to research other opportunities. By March 1, my application was accepted, and I could remove the “summer internship” item off my stress to-do list.
I started my internship a couple of weeks ago, and am still learning about the department’s work. Unlike perhaps some other internship positions, I was given the freedom to choose the work I would do over the summer. This has been both exciting and challenging. It’s great because I can tailor my learning and focus on my specific interests; the challenge is to remain exceptionally disciplined with my time and persistently take initiative. So far, so good — but I do admit that, occasionally, it is nice to simply be assigned a task with a deadline.
Nevertheless, what I have discovered with my summer internship is that this opportunity gives me and my classmates an additional network, on top of the expansive and tight-knit Fletcher network. I have already met many wonderful individuals, and am predicting some lasting professional relationships and friendships. As at Fletcher and elsewhere, the key is to get involved and be proactive, and take full advantage of the experience. While this has been great, I do miss my Fletcher classmates. Soon after the academic year’s end, you realize just how meaningful the Fletcher friendships really are. Luckily, there are a good number of us still in the Boston area, so it does not feel as secluded as it must feel for those interning in places such as Liberia or Nepal.
Another thing that I learned is that taking some time off between the academic year and a summer internship is helpful for sanity. Many of my Fletcher friends have done this: visiting family, going on short vacations and road trips, or simply staying put in the Boston area and reading fiction. (Fiction gains a whole new meaning in the life of a Fletcher student after two semesters of case studies). I personally was fortunate enough to visit Europe for two weeks, which was a welcome change of scenery. I would highly recommend taking your mind off anything school or work-related for at least a couple of weeks — your body and brain will be eternally grateful.
Finding a summer internship is a stressful activity for many Fletcher students, balanced as it is against a demanding academic schedule and a vibrant social environment filled with extracurricular activities — as well as many work and personal responsibilities. In the end, however, almost everyone finds exactly what s/he is looking for, and literally everyone finds something meaningful to do over the summer months. A couple of tips from my experience are to start the internship hunt early on (mid-fall semester), connect with Fletcher alums, use OCS resources, talk to your classmates, be persistent, and don’t stress too much.
Continuing the internship theme that Roxanne kicked off for us yesterday, today we’ll consider the question of internships during the academic year. We’re often asked about the opportunity to pursue an internship alongside classes, and it’s slightly tricky to answer. On the one hand, YES, you certainly may pursue an internship! Absolutely! And many students do. On the other hand, it’s not the culture at Fletcher to push students out the door to those internships (except during the summer, of course). Like so many choices students make (Should I pursue a dual degree? Exchange semester? Language study? Cross-registration?), the decision on an internship depends completely on the individual student’s academic and professional objectives. There’s plenty going on at Fletcher and elsewhere on the Tufts campus — you won’t be bored if you commit yourself to two years of doing everything there is to do here. On the other hand, if you tell us you have an internship, we’ll tell you that we’re glad to hear you’re taking advantage of that opportunity!
All of that said, I asked current students about their academic-year internships, and here’s what I found out:
Bob, first-year MALD: I work as an intern with the Tufts Office of Sustainability, which is located just a short walk from the Fletcher School in Tufts’ Miller Hall. I spend around 10-15 hours here per week, and some of my work can be completed at home.
Nathan, second-year MALD: I have done work for two outside organizations while at Fletcher. The first, in my first year, was at a small governance and peacebuilding organization in Cambridge, about a 30-minute walk from campus. I worked 16-20 hours during the fall, and scaled back to 8-10 during the spring. It was enriching to combine the academic environment with a more applied one, but I had to work during normal business hours, which was inconvenient for scheduling study groups and meant missing other opportunities at Fletcher. This type of work comes down to balancing the experience (and need for extra income!) with the opportunities and community available on campus. I decided not to continue this during my second year. My second internship, which I’m doing currently, is a long-distance, on-my-own-time consultancy. This, of course, means more flexibility but less direct engagement with the organization and the material. It still involves sacrifice, but it’s less a cause of stress in my life, and I do appreciate having at least one toe in the real world while at an academic institution.
Justin, second-year MIB: I worked at Converse in Latin America strategy 18-20 hours per week this year. I was able to do my capstone on Converse’s three-year strategy for Brazil.
Marie, second-year MALD: I worked at Conflict Dynamics International for about 9 hours a week last fall and this spring.
Katie, first-year MALD: I have had an internship for both the fall and spring semesters of this year. It is at WorldTeach, an international education nonprofit in Cambridge (it was formerly affiliated with Harvard). The internship is 10 hours per week, or 40 hours per month.
John, first-year MIB: I intern with the U.S. Commercial Service (a division of the Department of Commerce). I intern at the downtown Boston office, 10-15 hours a week. My responsibilities include market research and creating market entry strategies for Massachusetts companies to export and expand operations overseas.
Michael, first-year MIB: I have been working at State Street this semester. I am in the enterprise risk management division, in the probability of default group. My group worked on calculating the counter-party risk of broker-dealers for regulatory purposes. It is very quantitative. I work approximately 15 hours a week, all on-site in downtown Boston. The internship is paid on an hourly basis, and I found it through a posting from Fletcher OCS.
Leila, second-year MALD: Last spring I did an internship at Mercy Corps’ Cambridge office. I worked 10-12 hours a week with the Director of Governance and Partnerships. My main tasks were to help with logistics for their Partnerships summit in Bangkok, and to conduct research for an internal paper on private-sector partnerships. I found out about the internship through an OCS email.
Albert, second-year MALD: I’ve been interning on the Governance and Peacebuilding team at Conflict Dynamics International both this past summer and during the year. The internship is focused almost entirely on research in the areas of governance and peacebuilding, particularly in Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia. I worked 16 hours a week last semester and am working 12 hours a week this semester, paid on an hourly basis.
Cherrica, first-year MALD, and Chris, first-year MALD both intern at CargoMetrics, downtown Boston, 10-15 hours each week, paid, and say: It’s a technology-enabled hedge fund founded by Fletcher alums. They prefer you to work in the office but on occasion they are flexible and allow you to work from home. Great office with several Fletcher grads and students.
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