Catie Duckworth ’14
Major(s): Spanish, International Studies
Internship Site: Council on Hemispheric Affairs - Washington, DC
I discovered COHA through the internship postings on the Career Center’s website. I was looking for international affairs internships specifically dealing with Latin America in Washington, D.C. After researching COHA, I realized it was a perfect fit for me because of my interest in Latin America and journalism. I prepared my application with guidance of the Career Center. A couple weeks later, I followed up with COHA, and I was asked to come in for an interview. Two days later, I was on my way to D.C. to meet with the director. We discussed the COHA, my academic path, and if this organization was right for me. A week later, I heard back from them, and I was accepted to join the group of summer interns.
My main responsibility was to research issues in Latin America. I wrote pieces on topics including human rights, NAFTA, and AIDS. I was also the head of the Panama committee. I spent at least half of my research time concentrating on corruption in Panama. In addition, I was also on the grants committee, where I helped put together the budgets for grant proposals as part of COHA’s fundraising efforts, and I served as a member of the editing committee, serving as a final peer edit for other pieces written by our interns. I enjoyed my research a lot because I got to spend the summer learning more about the subjects that interest me the most. My favorite piece to write was an op-ed about AIDS and migration in Mexico. I found the research incredibly interesting.
Coming from a small residential area, it was a complete culture shock living in D.C. for the summer. It was also the first time I had been that much on my own. The first week was very overwhelming trying to adjust to commuting, public transportation, city traffic, and a lot of people. It was really intimidating at first, but after I learned the metro routes and got comfortable with the area, I really enjoyed my time in the city. Through this experience, I learned that I can adapt to new situations pretty well, and I am not worried about being on my own anymore.
My two classes on Latin American history prepared me the most for this internship. Research conducted in my modern Latin American history class helped me begin my research at COHA. Our director read my final paper for this class, and as a result, we decided to take the research a step further. My first piece at COHA was based off of my research paper.
Tips from Catie:
There are so many students trying to get internships, especially in the summer. The process can be very discouraging at times, but my advice is to not give up on your efforts. There is an internship for you somewhere out there. Showing interest in the site is always important, and following up after applying is also key because it shows the internship site that you are serious and committed.
Also, don’t forget about the Career Center’s resources. I found them very helpful, but remember that it takes a lot of effort on your part to secure the internship.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.