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SIS Students Take a Summer Break from Classrooms, Not from Waging Peace

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SIS students may take a break from studying, but for many, summer isn’t just a time to rest—it’s a time to gain valuable professional experience while working in service of something they believe is critically important. We asked a small group of students to tell us:

-Where is your internship, and what will you be doing?
-What do you hope to learn?
-How do you think this experience will impact your future career?

Take a look at the upcoming experiences of the students below for a snapshot of how SIS students use the summer to get out of the classroom and into the world of creating positive change.

Geoffry Box, SIS/MA ’23

Geoffry Box, SIS Student

My internship is located in Cusco, Peru, where I will be working with the ANDES Association (Association for Nature and Sustainable Development) to support food sovereignty. The ANDES mission is to promote conservation and sustainable development based on the Andean Quechua principle of Sumaq Kawsay through the implementation of biocultural territories. Sumaq Kawsay refers to "good living" in harmony with our community, ourselves, and nature. Using this mission as a guide, I will be assisting in documenting and studying the long-term impact, with relation to climate change and food sovereignty, of the repatriation of native Andean potato seeds from the International Potato Center (CIP) to the Indigenous communities developing the Potato Park of the Cusco Valley, Peru. This will be done using mixed methods research, including on-the-ground interviews, agricultural transects, mapping, photography, and other tools, which will all be improved and validated in consultation with the communities.

I am excited to learn from the Indigenous communities who are participating in the repatriation of potato seeds. As an advocate for food sovereignty, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the harmonious ways in which the people of the Potato Park live with their mountainous landscape. By deferring to them to guide the research being done rather than leading the research as an outsider, I aim to be open and understanding to a perspective that only they can provide. I am eager to work with the ANDES Association to develop my skills in multifarious quantitative and qualitative methods of research while aiding in amplifying the voices of Indigenous peoples of the Cusco Valley.

I aim to develop a career in the field of food security. More specifically, I am interested in the human geography of Indigenous mountain peoples in relation to natural resources, food sovereignty, and the impacts of climate change. This internship with the ANDES Association provides me with hands-on research experience working with a nonprofit and a community fighting for food sovereignty in the heart of the Andes Mountains. This is a valuable experience for me to gain both knowledge and standing in my prospective career field.

Sophie Gilpin, SIS/BA ’23

Sophie Gilpin, SIS student

My internship is at a nonprofit called Tearfund Germany, which is based in Berlin, but I will be working out of their Jordan offices, both in Mafraq and Amman, over the summer. During the first month, I will be working in the Mafraq office helping to provide emergency aid to the Syrian refugee population there. I will also be assisting in English curriculum development, as Tearfund provides English classes to the refugee community. While in Amman, I will be working on Tearfund's Yemen project, the purpose of which is to collaborate with local Yemeni organizations to provide emergency aid to the people there and to work to achieve sustainable solutions to ongoing issues such as hunger. I will be conducting research on the nature of the conflict in Yemen and communicating with Tearfund's partners to continue their efforts there.

I hope to learn the workings of an international NGO focused on humanitarian issues in the Middle East. Because the Middle East is my regional focus, this is an amazing opportunity to gain insight not only into the ongoing issues in the region but also to gain experience living and working in Arab culture. I look forward to improving my Arabic language skills as well.

I think this internship will impact my future career by allowing me an opportunity to experience what it is like working in this sort of environment. I acknowledge that the issues I will be working on have affected the lives of millions of people, and I hope to eventually have a career in the humanitarian field where I can meet the needs of people in seemingly impossible situations. I would also love to work in the Middle East in the future, and this internship is a great way to open the door to further opportunities in the region.

Gianell Lopez, SIS/BA ’24

Gianell Lopez, SIS student

My internship is with ECPAT-USA, an anti-trafficking policy organization that works to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International and is located in Brooklyn, NY; however, my internship will be remote. As a summer intern, I will be working with the director of public policy on projects related to the human trafficking policy agenda in the US.

I hope to expand my knowledge on current child trafficking policy and legislation in the US. I look forward to being able to see first-hand the role that ECPAT-USA has in combatting trafficking in persons and the organization’s work with the US government. I am also interested in expanding my research skills by working on projects relating to child sex trafficking and exploitation.

In the future, I hope to work with an international humanitarian aid organization that works on combating trafficking around the world, and through this internship, I will be able to gain first-hand experience that I believe will help me reach this goal. In addition, this experience will allow me to become more familiar with the public policy side of human trafficking, something in which I am very interested. After I graduate, I hope to attend law school and focus on human rights law, and I believe that my internship with ECPAT-USA will equip me with skills and knowledge that I will be able to use in law school.

Sarah Milgrim, SIS/MA ’23

Sarah Milgrim, SIS student

This summer, I will be interning at Tech2Peace, a peacemaking NGO in Tel Aviv, Israel. Tech2Peace provides the space for collaborative social entrepreneurship, personal growth, and technological advancement through two-week seminars in which Israelis and Palestinians live and learn together. My work will primarily focus on researching peacebuilding theory to develop program content, grant writing, and communicating with journalists to strengthen the organization’s public relations through media.

I am really excited for this opportunity because it will build my knowledge of communication and professional differences between the many cultures of the region as well as provide an opportunity to work on my Hebrew language skills. It has been a dream of mine to live and work in Israel for many years, and to achieve this goal while contributing to the betterment of the region’s livelihood is very meaningful to me. I will also have the opportunity to participate in one of Tech2Peace’s seminars at the end of the summer; I will be able to see the implementation of my work and to learn from the personal experiences of the participants. I think this internship will get me even more excited about entering the peacemaking field upon graduation next year. I hope to eventually combine my background in environmental science with the skills I learn this summer to go into environmental peacemaking, which approaches peacemaking and sustainability together through the idea of a shared environment.