Austin McCoy ’21 On His War College Internship

Many Russian majors over the years have participated in the summer internship program at the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, based right here in Carlisle at the US Army War College. Russian students are well suited for this opportunity—not only due to their language abilities and cultural knowledge, but because the Russian major emphasizes critical thinking and oral and written communication across disciplines (and in both English and Russian) as part of its requirements. Moreover, interns in this program often work on projects designed to better understand Russian foreign policy, US-Russian relations, and Russia’s relationship to its neighbors. Austin McCoy 21 (Russian and History double major) interned at the War College in summer 2019 and talks about that experience below, including what his responsibilities were and what skills were required of him.

Hello, I am a third year Russian and History major at Dickinson, currently studying in Moscow. This summer, I interned at the U.S Army War College researching Russian involvement in the Baltic states. My responsibilities consisted of research, organizing the research into a rough outline, and then eventually writing a paper. I contributed to the current discussion on how Russia interacts with its neighbors by analyzing the recent parliamentary elections in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, along with what long-term repercussions they may have on relations between the Baltic states and Russia.

If you are thinking about applying for this internship, the most important thing you can do is refine your writing abilities. The ability to condense a large amount of information into a cohesive argument in a short amount of time is a necessity. Formulating a bibliography, structuring a strong outline, and putting forth your argument in writing are all valuable skills. Thanks to the history and literature courses I have taken at Dickinson, I was well prepared. Professor Bilodeau, Professor Qualls, and Professor DeBlasio taught me how to put forward a convincing argument in writing, and I highly encourage anyone who wishes to improve their writing skills to take the classes they offer, even if they may not be within your major.

The War College internship is valuable to those who see themselves working for the government, whether that be at an agency or elsewhere. There are many high-ranking professionals from many different government agencies working at the War College, most of whom are very open to meeting with interns. Once you arrange a meeting time, you can conduct an informational interview and learn more about what each profession offers. For those in ROTC, there are also many professionals who have made their careers through the Army working there and may be able to offer their advice. Additionally, if you take my previous advice and complete a worthwhile project, you will finish the internship with professionals who will be willing to recommend you in your future career pursuits. Overall, I would recommend the internship at the Army War College.

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