2007 PFIG Recipient Andrea Keating

Career Administrator

Andrea Keating
College of Arts & Sciences 
Foreign Affairs 
2009 Graduation Year

Internship: State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor's Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in Washington, DC

Last year, as a first-year at the University, I knew I wanted to study Foreign Affairs. I have always found it fascinating and was eager to apply what I was learning to the real world. My first opportunity to do so came when I accepted a position as a clerical intern for the State Department last summer. I loved learning the intricacies of the State Department and decided I wanted to repeat my experience this year. This time, however, I wanted to be involved with a bureau where I could see myself working after graduation. I decided I wanted to work with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Office of Multilateral Affairs seemed to encompass all my interests and even offered potential travel opportunities. I applied for the internship position in November and received confirmation in the spring.

I am very excited to be working for the State Department this summer. I will be doing hands-on work, researching and writing responses on human rights in regards to the decisions made by the U.N. I hope to gain valuable experiences in and out of the office. Within my office, I will be writing government documents and hope to improve my research and writing skills. I also aim to understand and partake in the communication between offices at the State Department and to the U.N. In addition, I hope to meet diplomats and officers that will not only encourage me to pursue my interest in diplomacy but also illuminate how I can make an impact in the future. I will be provided a front row opportunity to see the necessity and impact of various developmental projects.

Notes on the first week

I have been at my internship for a little under two weeks and could not be happier. The first week started with a general orientation and just flew by. At the orientation, I met other new interns where we spent the day undergoing multiple security briefings and State Department protocol. It was fun to learn where everyone went to school, what they were studying, and which office they were going to work in.

I was immediately thrown into the heart of the office work. My office has busily been preparing for the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. By the first week, I was reading “special rapporteur” country-specific reports. After reading the reports, I drafted statements (two-minute speeches) that our representatives would use during the conference. It was exciting to learn the inside “scoop” on countries and then write responses on behalf of the United States. The first day, my office made it clear that this was not just an internship, but an opportunity to do real work.

I have also been given the opportunity to attend all the weekly meetings. I have sat in discussions with senior staff in my Bureau regarding human rights updates around the world. In addition to weekly office meetings, I get to attend meetings with NGO’s and the State Department. I basically get to see how diplomacy works in front of me- right down to the handshakes and business card swap! When I am not in meetings, I enjoy reading diplomatic cables and going to forums regarding various human rights and political issues around the world.

I can already tell this summer will fly by too fast!

Midway

I can’t believe how fast this summer has gone. I am over half-way done with my internship and am beginning to wish I had a little extra time. My internship is everything that I expected, and more. I have been given an opportunity to experience real officer work in a variety of tasks.

One aspect of the job that I really enjoy is I get to attend a lot of meetings. For most, this may not seem like an event to look forward to, but I think it is great. I sit in weekly meetings between our office and an office in the Bureau of International Organizations. There, I learn about recent events in the world and see the first stages and building of a response or action. I have also been sent on quick day trips to the Hill to sit in and listen in on hearings. I represented my office at a House hearing that was about the relationship between habeas corpus at GTMO and also another hearing that was about the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and its progress in Africa thus far. The MCC is unique in that is truly focuses on building from the ground up and only through the clear support of the community.

After I attend hearings on the Hill, I draft an information memo that will be distributed around my office and throughout the bureau. In addition to memo writing, I have helped write responses to Special Rapporteur inquiries and other human rights complaints. This involves a lot of research and learning how to write diplomatically.

One fun note is that I have nearly mastered the acronym lingo that is always used. Saying something like "I hope I get to see S today. Maybe she will stop by DRL/MLGA or EEB at HST" now makes sense to me!

Final Reflections

On my last day, my office took me out to lunch as a final goodbye. I loved getting to know them personally throughout the summer and I thought it was really nice for them to take me out. I am sure I will stay in touch with them (as I collected all their business cards) and I hope to see them soon!

I truly feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to intern at the State Department. Everyday as I walked onto the seventh floor, I realized I was doing something that some only dream to do in a lifetime. Working in my office, I was given an inside look of how the US brainstorms and reacts to countries actions and decisions all around the world. I loved doing research prior to the UN Human Rights Council and listening in to the conference calls that happened daily during this session. I quickly mastered navigating through certain websites and finding the information of which countries approved of certain resolutions on any given topic. This was definitely a summer of personal growth. I was independent as I lived on my own, taught myself the metro system and joined a soccer league to meet new friends. It was also a summer of growth as I was continually meeting people and learning about their careers to see if it could be a potential career for me.

I guess a true testament to the summer would be if I was willing to do it all over again. My answer: most definitely. I am incredibly thankful for the Parents Program Grant for giving me this opportunity. Now, I am relaxing at home for a few weeks before I leave to study abroad in China for my fall semester.