In summer 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many students to adjust their plans and switch to a virtual platform in order to participate in their internships and research projects. To ease the burden of these unprecedented times, the Program in International and Comparative Studies provided financial assistance to its students in the form of grants. This financial support was made possible thanks to the Rose Silverman Internship Fellowship, supported by Ms. Amy Rose, and the Longwoods Fellowship, supported by Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine. Read the student testimonials below to learn how PICS students transformed unpredictable circumstances into valuable learning experiences to advance their personal and professional goals.

Emma Gijsbers

BA International Studies; BA Spanish ‘21

2020 PICS Rose Silverman Internship Fellow 

Internship, Atlantic Council, Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center

The Adrienne-Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center Internship at the Atlantic Council that I participated in this summer cemented my interest in global environmental issues and climate development. The three months that I spent working there was my first real professional experience, outside of the research I conducted for the U-M School of Public Health. As someone who had changed their career ambitions multiple times, this internship showed me that working toward climate resilience is one of the most important actions we can take right now and it’s exactly the field I want to be in for the future. In addition to helping guide me onto a path I’m passionate about, I was able to gather valuable information which will be factored into research that I plan on publishing with the U-M Michigan Foreign Policy Council. I want to thank Ms. Amy Rose for supporting me on an internship experience that will serve my educational and career goals for the years to come.

Alexandra Pejas

BA International Studies; BA Economics ‘20

2020 PICS Rose Silverman Internship Fellow

Internship, Washington, D.C.’s National Immigration Forum, Integration Program

Interning for the Integrations Team at the National Immigration Forum this summer allowed me to discover more about the work being accomplished within the sphere of immigration in the United States. I was mainly involved with the Whole Foods New York cohort in the Forum’s English language program—in charge of maintaining the virtual learning platform, updating the databases, and interviewing participants. Unsurprisingly, most of the students were not entirely fluent in English, thus the Spanish and Polish language skills that I gained from my International Studies education helped me immensely. Prior to this experience, I knew the immigration sphere in America was concerned with policy and advocacy initiatives. However, I had no idea that there were groups like my Integrations Team which were providing legal and language support, and working with immigrants directly. It exposed me to a new subset of immigration that I’d like to work in in the future. I would like to thank Ms. Amy Rose for the support she provided me during this experience, whose generosity allowed me to pursue a line of work that I’m passionate about.

Faith Williams

BA International Studies; minor, Anthropology; minor, French and Francophone Studies ‘22

2020 PICS Rose Silverman Internship Fellow 

Internship, Penn Museum Summer Internship Program, Cultural Heritage Center

This summer I was an intern at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center through the Penn Museum Summer Internship Program. I was one of four interns tasked with creating a literature review for an upcoming project at the Conflict Culture Research Network. My research specifically focused on illicit trafficking and looked at five resources: antiquities, drugs, diamonds, oil, and wildlife. Throughout the internship, I learned how to do quick and advanced research which will undoubtedly help me in the future, if I choose to continue with higher education. Certain gaps in the literature also piqued my interest and made me want to take courses that could answer the questions I still have. This internship was extremely useful in my own understanding of how my disciplines of study can be utilized in a variety of fields and I now have a better understanding of where my degree can take me. Thank you to Ms. Amy Rose, whose kindness aided me in participating in this experience without financial strain.

Adam Cohn

BA International Studies; minor, Entrepreneurship ‘21

2020 PICS Longwoods Fellow

Internship, Zeller Realty Group

I was a virtual intern this summer on the Capital Markets Team at Zeller Realty Group, a Chicago based real estate group. I worked specifically on Zeller’s back-end functionality, and gained exposure into the numbers that move the business forward. Two main assignments occupied my time this summer—importing data from Microsoft Excel into Property Asset Management software in order to create a visual representation of the 401 North Michigan Avenue cash flow, and extracting data from two commercial real estate softwares, ARGUS Enterprise and FUEL (Property Asset Management) into Microsoft Excel to determine which software works best for the Capital Markets Team. I am certain that without the funding, my internship would not have been as accessible, so I am especially grateful to PICS, Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, and Zeller for providing me with an incredible growth opportunity.

Hannah Kuriakose

BA International Studies; BA Environment, minor, Writing ‘21

2020 PICS Longwoods Fellow

Independent Research Project for PICS Honors Thesis

This summer, I began researching an independent project that would serve as a basis for my senior Honors thesis—an international comparative study in Detroit, Michigan, and Toronto, Canada, that focuses on urban farming as a tool to mitigate food insecurity. The goal of this project is to create accessible food for residents in urban areas, learn about the inner workings of such initiatives, and to strategize on how to improve the efficacy of such urban and community-based projects. During the process, I coordinated remote interviews with local experts, analyzed the respective country’s food, environment, and sustainable policies, and compiled this research to present to my advisors. In late July, I was able to showcase my research and prior experiences working on an urban farm on the @UMichPICS Instagram account. 

As I continue the research for my senior Honors thesis, I will be putting a larger emphasis on understanding how food security impacts international affairs, and use it as a scope for potential recommendations regarding the United States’ recent efforts to include food security in its national security. Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, I am so very grateful for your support that has allowed me to conduct my independent research this summer.

Claire Lacey

BA International Studies; BA Russian ‘21

2020 PICS Longwoods Fellow

Internship, Brevia Consulting

This summer I had the privilege of participating in an internship with Brevia Consulting, a public affairs agency in the United Kingdom. During my time there, I gained valuable experience in the realm of public affairs—something I didn’t think I would encounter until much later in my career. The work I completed for Brevia was very writing-intensive, which exposed me to new styles of writing and allowed me to become comfortable with creating policy briefings—a skill which will be necessary for my career in government post-graduation. Not only that, but I was also able to be a key participant in the construction of Brevia’s new website, which went live to the public in early September. Thanks to the support of Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, I’ve come away from this summer with a bolstered resume, cover letter, and professional portfolio.

Patricia Lee

BA International Studies ‘21

2020 Longwoods Fellow

Social Media Internship, Breaking Taboo

Throughout this summer, I had the opportunity to work remotely as a social media intern at a mental health nonprofit organization, Breaking Taboo. The remote and social media heavy nature of this organization expanded my perception of what mental health awareness can look like on a global level. I had the opportunity to work on various projects during my experience, such as the anti-Asian American racism campaign for which I created a mental health infographic tailored to a myriad of communities. In addition to that, I participated in multiple calls with organizations as we brainstormed ways to collaborate and promote our fundraiser, with proceeds going towards mental health and racism education. I’d like to thank Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, whose generosity alleviated my worries about financing this experience, allowing me to pursue an internship which enriched my University of Michigan education by revealing the global nature of health at its core.

Georgia Wood

BA International Studies ‘21

2020 PICS Longwoods Fellow

Research Assistant, CoronaNet Research Project focusing on Spain

During my three-month long experience as a Research Assistant for the CoronaNet Project, I was able to broaden my understanding of international policy, develop my professional skills, as well as strengthen my Spanish-speaking abilities. As an intern, I was tasked with coding how the federal government of Spain had responded to the coronavirus. Since many of the policy announcements had been published only in Spanish, I had to rely on my language abilities in order to effectively include them in our CoronaNet dataset. In addition to that, by looking at policy through a qualitative analysis lens, I was able to develop a data-driven understanding of international policy issues. The entire experience allowed me to see how we can use data to positively influence effective policy making in the United States, and prompted me to apply for a virtual internship with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—where I will be working as a Counterintelligence Digital Communications Intern this fall.

I would like to thank Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine for their incredible support throughout this experience, whose generosity allowed me to become better prepared for my professional career.