Name: Shrijana Khanal
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Brookings Institution
Position Title: Intern
Current Class Level: Junior
Work Term: Summer 2019
Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.
This summer, I interned at The Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington, D.C. that conducts research in the social science field focusing on economics, foreign policy, governance, metropolitan policy, and the global economy. I was part of the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. I worked as an intern under Senior Fellow John McArthur to conduct research, collect and analyze data regarding how powerful Canada is, in eight categories (Economic resources, Military capability, Resilience, Future resources, Diplomatic influence, Economic relationships, Defence networks, and Cultural influence) through the published work of the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index. I was able to replicate the Lowy Institute Asia’s methodology to calculate Canada's power score and finished a 10-page report, which detailed my research and the data mining process. At the internship, I also collected data for the Southeast Asia Korea US Aid Project. Lastly, I helped organize and plan the Brookings Blum Roundtable, an annual forum for global leaders such as John Allen and Madeleine Albright to explore various facets of global poverty with a focus on how technology and innovation promotes economic growth.
Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I heard about the position through different outlets: the Sondheim Scholars Program, Dr. Mitch (the department chair of the Economics Department at UMBC), and the Career Center. I applied through myUMBC, submitting my resume, transcript, cover letter, and writing sample around March. Afterwards, I completed a phone call interview with Brookings, which went well. Weeks later, I received an email instructing me to complete a background check and submit two letters of recommendation. Then, I finally got the offer letter!
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
This internship has a very special place in my heart because it revealed the power of data and ignited my passion for data science and statistics. I became exposed to the power of big data and how I can combine my interest in economics and math. On a personal note, the other thing I enjoyed the most about my internship was the connections I made with my supervisor and my fellow interns. My supervisor was a great mentor who helped me become a better writer, a better researcher, and a better learner. He gave me a lot of insight into the directions that I could take my career. The friends that I made at the internship will remain in my life forever because we all learned a lot from each other and supported each other’s goals. And finally, living in the heart of our nation’s capital was a life-changing experience. D.C. is so diverse and I hope to work there one day!
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
At the beginning of my internship, I was feeling somewhat discouraged because I could not see the big picture of my project. However, through the amazing mentorship of my supervisor and the connections I fostered with the other interns, I was able to see the impact of my work by talking more about my research with others and seeing other indexes like the Global Hunger Index or the Human Development Index, which portrayed similar work. Through my research about Canada, my supervisor will be able to see the strengths and weaknesses in Canada's power, which will help dissect Canada's role in the US-China Trade war.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
I would tell everyone to network, no matter how uncomfortable it may make you feel.
And to remember that the 9AM-5PM lifestyle might take you a while to adjust to; therefore, prioritizing self-care is just as important as focusing on your professional growth.
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