The Washington Center’s work with student interns from around the world would not be possible without tireless site supervisors, who mentor the young professionals.
Aware of these indispensable actors, The Washington Center seeks once a semester to honor site supervisors whose nominations are put forward by the student interns themselves. This summer’s Internship Site Supervisor Awards were no exception with three excellent Washingtonians given the recognition they deserve.
Isabel Niewola — Fundraising and Partnerships, Inter-American Defense Foundation (IADF)
First on the agenda was honoree Isabel Niewola, who works in fundraising and partnerships at IADF. The IADF, in existence since 1942, is an international forum comprised of both civilian and uniformed representatives of the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS). According to its website, the IADF “provides technical, advisory, and educational services in military and defense matters in the hemisphere.”
Virginia Liu, who worked under Niewola researching results-based management and placed her name in contention for the award, extolled Niewola’s willingness to provide Liu with meaningful projects. According to Liu, “Isabel is not only assigning tasks that relate to the work of the Foundation, but she is also assigning tasks that make me more marketable in the job field.”
Liu’s views were reciprocated by Niewola, who said, “Virginia was the perfect intern: ambitious, curious, tactful, professional, hard-working and entrepreneurial. She began the internship with only a vague idea of what a project entails and has now been able to independently craft both a proposal and a budget. This is a tremendous accomplishment and a testament to her perseverance and willingness to learn.” For interns in general, she offered the following words of wisdom: “Whether it’s getting your congressman’s business card, approaching someone at a cybersecurity meeting for networking purposes or preparing a document on a topic that is foreign to you, believe in yourself and push your limits on a daily basis. We can do so much once we drop our own inhibitions.”
Christopher Myers — Director of Individual Giving, Mida Associates
Next up was Christopher Myers, the Director of Individual Giving at Mida Associates, an advocacy organization that works on issues as disparate as HIV/AIDS, LGBT rights, and gun violence. Summer Franklin, who was supervised by Myers, clearly thought highly of both Meyer and her experience, telling The Washington Center that Myers has gone above and beyond the duties of a mere supervisor. As she put it, “[Chris] has gone past the outlined duties. He has never made me feel like an intern. He has made it a point to discuss my personal goals and how I can reach them.”
For his part, Myers was pleased with the efforts he saw from Franklin, saying, “Summer was able to teach my colleagues and I from a new perspective, while she was able to grow from her experience at Mida Associates.” And with respect to general advice for current and future Washington Center interns, Myers was unambiguous – “Learn as much as you can, embrace every opportunity that comes your way and never eat alone! It’s a big world out there with so much potential, soak it up and run with it!”
Tyler Walker — Executive Assistant, Same Day Process Service
Last but certainly not least was Tyler Walker, the Executive Assistant at the Same Day Process Service. Founded in 1999, Same Day is a private investigatory firm that, according to its website, specializes “in high-profile investigations for private companies, individuals, and the United States Government.” As the subject of not one but four glowing nominations, a common theme linked all of the interns in Walker’s charge: his personability. Caroline Furman was the first to admit that she “was the one that most shy out of all of the interns.” However, this changed as “Tyler has worked with me not only to develop skills with the type of work our company had to do, but also helped me be less anxious.” As Chris Diolosa pointed out, “Tyler asked what my major is and he then introduced me to his professional network who share the same interest as I do.” Meanwhile, Sarah Pattisall reminisced about the time Walker volunteered to take her cohort of interns to Annapolis for the day. And Jordan Santasieri, aptly summing up the feelings of everyone, said, “Every day we come into the office, Tyler always makes sure that all of us interns are satisfied and are doing okay.”
Every day we come into the office, Tyler always makes sure that all of us interns are satisfied and are doing okay.Jordan Santasieri
Events often dictate the pace of life in Washington, and Walker’s appreciation for his interns’ hard work was borne out of this fact. As Walker explained, “When the Comey testimony hit, it hit those in our profession hard. Lots of work came flooding in and we found ourselves relying heavily on our interns for support and assistance. Our interns came through brilliantly, assisting with peripheral and primary investigations to put us in a much more advantageous position going into the case.” And in offering his interns one last tidbit, he advised them “Keep in touch with the people you met at The Washington Center, as most of them probably have that same fire in their stomach to return to DC that you do.“
Internship site supervisors play important roles in TWC’s educational structure and pledge to uphold the organization’s Internship Bill of Rights, established in 2014. The guidelines empower interns to get the most from their internships through reflection on their professional plans before their work even begins. They also give internship sites and supervisors the tools they need to measure the effectiveness of their internship programs.