LSA junior Amanda Walker is very specific about where she works. She is an intern in the Office of Multilateral and Global affairs; which is in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; which is in the U.S. Department of State.
“It’s a busy place,” Walker says, “and it can be tough balancing priorities. I am given a lot of responsibility in my office, and I often get several assignments at once. I have to use my best judgement about which projects I should prioritize over the others.”
Walker has been encouraged to attend any meeting she was interested in, and during her time in Washington, D.C., she has met with NGOs, women who hold leadership positions in Burkina Faso and South Sudan, and senior officials in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The meetings help Walker connect her academic work to work being done at the State Department and to her future aspirations.
“We met with the special representative of the U.N. secretary general on sexual violence in conflict, which was important to me because I studied international conflict resolution last summer in Geneva and London,” Walker says. “I actually wrote my final paper on the role of women in conflict, so it was really meaningful to be able to participate here.”
Support from Home
For Walker, who is considering a career in the Foreign Service, a State Department position is an important step toward a successful career. And like hundreds of other students from LSA, Walker got an internship scholarship to help with living expenses and other costs.
Students working with the LSA Opportunity Hub have landed incredible gigs all across the country and the world, including positions at organizations as prestigious and diverse as IBM, the Mayo Clinic, Dark Horse Entertainment, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Comedy Central. And making sure that all LSA students can access these incredible opportunities is core to the Hub’s mission.
“We often work with students who say that without funding they would have to forgo an internship. The cost of those experiences is a real barrier for so many of our students,” said Paula Wishart, LSA’s assistant dean for student development and career initiatives and head of the Opportunity Hub. “Our dean is committed to changing that. Thanks to the generosity of alumni and donors, we’ve been able to give millions of dollars in support to LSA students.”
For Walker, the internship provides a vital career stepping stone, but it also helps, she says, to broaden her perspective about the issues she is working on.
“It’s been amazing seeing how the power of the U.S. government can be used for good,” Walker says, “to promote democracy and human rights around the world. In one way or another, that's something that I hope to work on in my future career.”
This article is part of an ongoing series on the LSA Opportunity Hub’s internship season. The Hub’s internship program is a first-of-its-kind project, connecting liberal arts students’ academic work to real-world experience through the Hub’s massive internship databank and global network of alumni and resources. You can read more about internship season here.