CRDF Global Welcomes its Summer 2020 Interns
In the midst of COVID-19, while many organizations were forced to cancel their internship programs, CRDF Global decided to pivot and rework its internship program into a remote format. As a result, CRDF Global was able to choose ten outstanding individuals from a record number of applications. Tune back in to this page each Thursday, as we feature two of our summer interns each week through the end of July.
From the start, this transition required careful coordination between CRDF Global’s IT team, human resources, and each hiring manager. This planning payed off, with the interns successfully completing interviews, onboarding, and check-ins with their supervisors, all from their home workspaces.
The change to a virtual work environment did not come without challenges, but as Intern Program Coordinator Jon Freeman explains, “Doing a remote internship required a different type of collaboration between the interns, hiring managers, and myself. We ultimately wanted to create a meaningful internship program that would bring valuable experiences to the interns’ professional work experience.”
Whether remote or in person, CRDF Global’s internship program gives interns an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of issues across the international security and foreign assistance spectrum.
“We match our interns with CRDF Global staff and partners that have subject matter expertise in the intern’s field of study. Not only can CRDF Global benefit from interns’ new perspectives and ideas, but we also help with their career growth by exposing them to a variety of programs that address important global challenges. COVID-19 required that we adapt our hiring and onboarding processes, but the pandemic proves why we must continue strengthening future workforces to help protect the health and security of our communities,” says Siri Oswald, Vice President of Talent Management.
CRDF Global’s internship program this summer also provides interns with experience in working remotely. Interns are collaborating on a group project, which they will present to the organization, and attending virtual speaker events. “Being able to work remotely and maintain a dynamic and collaborative environment requires certain skills, which the interns will have an opportunity to develop,” says Oswald.
In our interviews with our interns, we asked how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them academically or professionally, and their responses will be featured in our weekly spotlights throughout the month of July.
CRDF Global 2020 Interns:
Meet Dina, our Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS) intern! Dina is from the suburbs of Chicago. In 2017, she graduated from DePaul University, where she studied international studies and geography. She has worked and studied in Egypt, Oman, and Algeria, and she speaks fluent Arabic and elementary Farsi. While Dina was on a Fulbright in Algeria studying the relationship between national identity consciousness and language, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The Fulbright program was suspended, and she had to be evacuated by the State Department. Despite this, she says, “I was very blessed for the opportunity I had to live and work in a country with one of the most complicated visa processes for Americans. Algeria also overthrew a president through 60+ weekly mass protests. I would get to watch them from my apartment building. It was a revolutionary experience.”
Meet Doreen, our Pricing intern! Doreen lives in Wheaton, Maryland and is originally from Ghana. Doreen is currently pursuing her MA in finance at American University. On how COVID-19 affected her academically, she says, “COVID-19 pushed the school authorities, my classmates, and me to think of innovative ways of engaging in group assignments, study groups, and taking our exams. It was an opportunity to break out of old habits such as having group meetings in our break rooms to finding ways and relevant models while taking advantage of technology. This experience taught me that collaboration and working together is an essential feature in overcoming any obstacle.”
Meet Michaela, our IT intern! Hailing from Beltsville, MD, Michaela is a senior at Towson University majoring in information systems. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, she leveraged her computer science skills and love of data to track the spread of the virus. She says, “I was able to collaborate with a friend of mine to create a COVID-19 Tracker for the state of Maryland using an open source API. We were able to design an interface as well as have data about COVID-19 be updated daily. The user is able to see the amount of active cases, recovered cases and deaths by county.”
Meet Paxton, one of our CBRNE interns! Paxton is from Fairfax, VA, and he is a senior at Penn State, where he is majoring in economics. Paxton says that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught him how to overcome unexpected types of challenges: “I had to adapt to doing my classes in a completely different environment than I was used to and comfortable with. I had to change the way I was thinking of my future plans, such as working during the summer. I had to learn to adapt and overcome the new and quickly changing circumstances in the world around me.”