What was your internship in MIW?

U.S. Department of State, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Office of Near Eastern Affairs

What attracted you to MIW?

The opportunity to visit and live in the nation's capital to network with policy professionals and gain real-world experience in American foreign policy.

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now. What was your first job after graduation? Where do you live? 

I was selected for the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme last year following three years working as a Data Analyst at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The JPO programme is a highly prestigious and competitive professional development program at the United Nations for young professionals under the age of 32. Through joining the program, I currently live in New York City and work at the United Nations as a Data Analyst in the Strategic Planning and Monitoring Unit within the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. After graduation in 2015, I pursued a graduate degree studying public policy and information science, with an emphasis on data analytics and international policy and development. My career trajectory has allowed me to work at the intersection of my academic degrees, with my current position focused on internal systems transformation and technological innovation across the various sectors within international affairs. Additionally, I am leading the coordination and development of this year's Annual Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization, the only report mandated by the Charter of the United Nations.

What has been your greatest professional and/or personal accomplishment since MIW?

My greatest professional achievement would definitely be the successful pursuit of a career at the United Nations before turning 30. My long-term goal in pursuing a professional life focused on international affairs has always been to join the United Nations. I am very proud and grateful to have been selected for the JPO program, with an acceptance rate of less than one percent. My greatest personal accomplishment has been my ability to break countless barriers throughout my academic trajectory. I received full funding in pursuit of my graduate studies and am the first in my immediate family to pursue higher education and graduate from the University of Michigan, in addition to coming from an immigrant background and growing up in a low socioeconomic status household and a minority in the United States as an Arab American and Muslim woman. The MIW program is ever more crucial for students with backgrounds similar to myself, as it helped me learn about opportunities and possibilities that were previously not accessible to me.

Was there a class and/or experience in MIW that led you to pursue your current career?

I would say it was the holistic MIW experience that influenced my career trajectory and what I am doing today, rather than one specific part. If I had to choose, I would say it was my internship at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor that was most influential. The level of responsibility I was given was well beyond that of an intern. I deeply valued the trust placed in my abilities and the projects I got to lead and contribute to, including reviewing several of the agency's annual country-specific Human Rights Reports and drafting the U.S. Statement and Advance Questions for the 2015 Universal Periodic Review of Lebanon at the United Nations, among other tasks.

What three words would you use to describe your experience in MIW?

transformative, fun, and eye-opening

How has MIW benefitted you in your post-Michigan life?

Had I not participated in the MIW program, I would not have applied to graduate school with such a rich professional experience under my belt. In addition to my academic record and the support of many mentors, including those who wrote my letters of recommendation, I strongly believe this was a key formative experience in my decision to apply to public policy programs, and ultimately receive a fully funded offer of admission on the road to achieving my dreams.

What advice do you have for our current and future MIW students?

Don't allow self-doubt or last-minute deadlines stop you from applying to programs, scholarships, and professional development opportunities and positions. Submit your application anyway. You are not on the decision committee of any opportunity you are interested in, but if you don't apply then you have already made the decision for them by not allowing yourself to be considered as part of the applicant pool.

If applicable, please list any websites you would like us to include to help publicize you and/or your work.