Paige Reinfelder, COL ’23, Freeport, Maine
From a young age, I have loved learning about history, international relations, and languages, and the thought of turning these passions into a career has long driven my future goals. Though my ideal career path has never been crystal clear, the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations have always piqued my interest. With the help of Career Services funding this summer, I took one step closer to making my dream of working with an organization like the State Department possible through an internship with the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN).
For the past three years at Penn, I have read and learned about diplomacy as an international relations and Russian and Eastern European studies major, and this summer I was lucky enough to see it in action while I completed an internship at USUN located in New York City. Thanks to funding from Career Services, I was able to complete an in-person internship at the world’s hub for multilateral diplomacy, all the while living in the bustling city of New York. As I move into my final year at Penn, I now hold a more informed opinion on topics I have learned about inside and outside the classroom and feel more prepared for my post-graduation future.
During my time at USUN, I explored my interests in a multitude of fields from diplomacy and international relations to Eastern Europe and humanitarian issues. As an intern, I assisted full-time staff members with relevant tasks and produced research on topics relating to UN reform efforts and oversight matters. I attended meetings throughout the week at USUN and the UN, took notes, produced summarizing readouts for staff, and interacted with people from diverse countries and backgrounds. From the smallest of tasks to larger meetings, I was able to see how diplomacy is conducted on an international stage from an internal view.
Highlights from my internship include attending the UN’s Fourth of July celebration hosted on the UN Lawn, chatting with the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, visiting the Security Council and General Assembly Hall, working on long-term projects, and forming connections with the knowledgeable staff that I was honored to work with. Being in such a multicultural environment where around every hallway and assembly hall you may hear the six official UN languages was extremely exciting and enriching, and I know I will cherish the experience for many years to come.
This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.