Think Tank Researcher-in-Training

Writing about Latin America and living in our nation's capital.

Finding an Internship I Felt Passionate About

Time really has been flying by with my internship. I’m working hard from 9-5 with my fellow interns at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA from now on), and each day is equal parts challenging and rewarding.

But before I start to describe what it’s like to be an intern at COHA, or a Cohista, I want to talk about how I secured this internship in the first place.

Ever since starting college, I’ve tried to make the most of my summers by engaging in some sort of job or internship that would help strengthen what I learn in the classroom and teach me a few new things along the way. Last summer, I taught Spanish to first and second graders. This summer, looking to focus more on the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies aspect of my fields of study, I sought the advice of one of my professors, Professor Ruhl, and asked him where he thought I should apply for an internship for the summer of 2013. His first suggestion was that I apply to COHA. A friend of mine who is a rising senior at Dickinson had interned here during the summer of 2012, so I had heard of the organization before, though I knew very little of it. That evening, I did some research, and found that COHA’s mission fell in line with issues and fields of research that I’m passionate about. Specifically, COHA seeks to encourage the formulation of rational and constructive U.S. policies towards the Western hemisphere. Also, COHA aspires to cultivate the next generation of informed leaders in the public and political sector, who will be equipped to effectively address the current and future issues of the region.

(And before you ask, no, I didn’t copy that from the website. One of my early assignments was to reword the mission statement, as well as the goals and objectives for COHA, so what you read above was an excerpt from that. I thought that was kinda cool.)

Anyway, after researching the internship and sending in all of my application materials, I got a call from COHA, asking for an interview. What I didn’t know then was that the Founder and Director of COHA, Larry Birns, only interviews those who he feels would be a strong fit for the organization. If I had known that, maybe I would have been a little more at ease during the interview. I probably nervously laughed a little more than I’m proud to admit, but fortunately they offered me the position of Research Associate, which I gladly accepted.

Details on what it’s like to be a Cohista (and what it’s like to live in D.C.!) in my upcoming posts.

Hasta la próxima,


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