U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Washington, D.C.
This summer, I had the privilege of interning for the U.S. Department of State under the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). I worked on a team with six other interns focusing on cases related to the environment and business operations across a variety of industrial sectors in South and East Asia.
My particular focus was in the energy sector, and our team worked on a variety of cases involving businesses with operations that caused environmental disputes. While researching the impact of such operations on the communities they were affecting was central to our work, another important aspect was assessing financial risk for corporate and government interests as well as researching business strategy risk for the parties involved. The culmination of our team’s work was a final presentation of our research and casework to a large audience of government officials representing various agencies and bureaus within the State Department. This provided an exciting opportunity for us to not only showcase our hard work over the summer, but to also extract key insights from our findings across sectors to leave the group with a lasting impression.
An especially rewarding aspect of the internship was the focus on quantitative and data analysis. While research associated with the federal government is often thought of as superfluous and excessive, presenting our research effectively and succinctly was the key to helping facilitate the presentation of “policy recommendations”—the use of data analysis was a perfect way to do this. I certainly think the addition of data-driven methods to the State Department’s analysis would be very valuable for the federal government and the foreign policy crafting process more broadly. In many ways, the State Department as well as other federal departments are quickly adopting data science methodologies and implementing them into their analyses, and it was very exciting to be a part of this process to make it more commonplace in this area of work.
Working at the forefront of American foreign policy in an environment as dynamic as this was very enriching. Given my primary interest in the intersection of politics (especially international politics) and business, the internship gave me a fantastic opportunity to explore this intersection in great depth with the added benefit of knowing that my work can result in concrete policy or diplomatic actions in the future. As I do want to pursue this field as a career path, either in a public sector setting like the State Department, or a private sector setting like management consulting, this internship provided me with a very rich experience to prepare for such a profession.
I am incredibly grateful for the guidance and support of the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, especially from Dawn Dellea, in making such valuable internships such as this as widely available and accessible as possible. I am also very thankful for the Estate of George Mead and will be proud to represent foundations like these that support me and the broader Williams community.