Sara Bruce, BA International Studies; BA Political Science ‘19
Concern for the Girl Child (CGC)
For three months in the summer of 2018, I lived, interned, studied, and traveled in Uganda and East Africa. This is something I did not imagine I would be able to do while still in college. I am pursuing a career in international development, but Michigan offers limited study and intern abroad programs that focus on this field. When I found Insight Global Education’s Semester in Development (SID) program, I was cautiously hopeful knowing that I probably would not be able to afford the tuition. However, because of the PICS Summer Research and Internship Grant award, and specifically Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, I was able to spend the summer furthering my cultural competency and gaining invaluable experience in program management in the development field that has even led to a job offer. There are no words to express how sincerely grateful I am for having received the Longwoods Fellowship. This experience has truly enhanced my undergraduate experience and impacted my career path. The major component of the SID program is the internship. I worked as a program management and design intern for Concern for the Girl Child (CGC), a Ugandan-led organization that empowers vulnerable girls through providing access to education, advocacy, community development, and basic necessities. Another significant part of my summer was being able to travel to Tanzania to meet with an NGO that I have admired for years. The Small Things (TST) is an organization that works to combat the typical orphanage model employed in so many Global South countries, and instead focuses on family preservation and reunification. With the Longwoods Fellowship, I was able to afford the trip to Tanzania, tour TST, and meet its staff. I presented TST my resume, skills, and passion for their mission, and upon returning to Uganda, I was offered a full-time position after graduation. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could not have realized without the generosity of Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine.
Suzanna Duba, BS International Studies; BS Information ‘20
U.S. Department of State Student Internship
I have struggled to put into words everything I have witnessed, experienced, learned, and grown from in the summer of 2018. To put it simply, I of course loved my summer experience abroad, but am now so grateful to have had an extended period of time living within another culture and to have had the opportunities I did during this summer in Ukraine. I spent 10 weeks interning for the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Ukraine has been an independent country since the fall of the Soviet Union 27 years ago. I loved my time in Ukraine for many reasons, but want to highlight just a few of the reasons I am so grateful for this experience. First, I met friendly, energetic, and interesting people, including both the United States Government employees, and local Ukrainians. I loved getting to know the locally employed staff (the Ukrainians who work side-by-side with the Americans in the Embassy) in my section (Public Affairs’ press team), and was amazed by how passionate and helpful they were about their work (supporting U.S. policies on helping Ukraine) and about having me join the team. I also found that having shared interests but diverse backgrounds made getting to know the diplomats and other Americans working in the Embassy very easy. I am inexplicably grateful for the grant from the Longwoods Fellowship, and Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, and will forever remember my summer in Ukraine. I hope to return someday soon, and plan to list my first diplomatic post as Embassy Kyiv, assuming I someday join the ranks of the U.S. Foreign Service, as I so hope to.
Matthew Harmon, BA International Studies ‘20
In the summer of 2018, I interned in Dehradun, India, with Ankuri, a women’s rights NGO. I still am in disbelief that I was awarded this opportunity. Every day, I woke up, left my dorm room, stared out at the vistas of the Lesser Himalayas, and prepared myself for another day of grassroots impact. For this opportunity, I will be forever grateful. I know for a fact I would not have been there if it were not for the generosity of Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, and assistance from the Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) at the University of Michigan. I have never been one to limit applications solely based on lack of available funds, but reality sometimes gets in the way of opportunities. When I was offered a position at Ankuri for the summer, I was immediately overjoyed, but concern over practicality quickly crept in and clouded my excitement. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to participate in the internship because of the airfare and boarding fees and the litany of other preparation costs. Every morning, I would be hit with conflicting emotions: pride for having secured the position and fear that finances would create too high of a hurdle for me to clear. Because of Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, the Longwoods Fellowship, and PICS, I was able to have the life-changing experience of working at Ankuri, and discovering how my last two years at the university and my educational goals can lead to potential careers post-graduation.
Caitlyn Nalley, BA International Studies; BA Environment ‘20
National Coastal Agency of Albania
This past summer, I spent more or less two months interning in Tirana, Albania, with the National Coastal Agency which is housed under Albania’s Ministry of Tourism and Economics. First though, I would just like to say how thankful I am to Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, and to the Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS), without whose support I likely would not have been able to have the summer experience that I did. My agritourism-focused research was inherently meant to be used for the betterment of tourism in Nivica, so we took trips four hours south and spent time there as well in order to better understand both the people and the place. Overall, through this experience, I was able to gain a plethora of knowledge on how countries such as Albania, which has the fiscal resources of many other European countries, is working to better its tourism approaches and implement fun and creative strategies, which is something I hope to do in my future career. I also made invaluable networking contacts and learned how I adapt to certain working conditions. I was also made aware of things I can work on to improve myself professionally. I would not trade this summer for the world and again thank PICS for the opportunity and subsequent experience gained made possible through the funding and support.
Rachel Willis, BA French; BA International Studies; Honors ‘19
Research project: “Mapping Marronage”
Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Martinique, France
This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a research project thanks to the funding I received from the Longwoods Fellowship. The name of the project was “Mapping Marronage,” and it was directed by Dr. Annette Joseph-Gabriel, a faculty member from the U-M Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. The goal of the project is to create a digital map visualizing the paths traveled by enslaved people who engaged in some form of marronage–the continuous process of escaping slavery–during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. My role in the project was primarily gathering archival documents related to runaway slaves. Working on this project advanced my educational goals in a number of ways. The first part was done remotely in Ann Arbor, and the second part was on-site in Martinique, France. I became familiar with U.S.-based digital archives such as the University of North Carolina “Documenting the American South” Collection and the Tulane University slavery documents collection, as well as digital archives from France and Quebec such as the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer and the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec. The second portion of the research project took place on-site in Martinique, France. While in Martinique, I spent time at the public archives, making pdfs of documents from a microfilm containing slave emancipations for the Mapping Marronage project. While there, I also had the opportunity to obtain some very pertinent materials for my thesis that are not available digitally or through interlibrary loan. These materials, a letter written to a colonial administrator and a monthly women’s journal, will contribute largely to the second chapter of my thesis. While I am still processing this experience, I will keep these insights in mind as I proceed with my thesis and my future endeavors in this field. This experience has truly been enriching on both an intellectual and personal level, and I would like to thank Dr. Siegel and Ms. Swaine, Folaké Graves, and the rest of the team at PICS for making it possible.