My internship with United Way Worldwide

Name: Alexandra Thulin

Hometown: Miami, FL

What is your major? Master of Arts in Global Affairs

Where are you interning? United Way Worldwide

What is your title? International network engagement intern

How did you get your internship? I applied to the Washington Center and was connected with United Way Worldwide through them.

What are you doing there? As part of the International Network and Engagement Team, I provide support to regional offices and teams to enable United Ways across the globe to realize shared mission goals by leveraging support from United Way Worldwide (UWW) and from within the network itself. I also conduct outreach and support with the global teams in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East, India, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific countries to ensure consistency between all offices.

What projects did you work on? I am currently working on four primary projects. I participate in and coordinate elements of weekly meetings between regional offices and the International Network (IN) Team. I am developing recommendations for the United Way Worldwide Disaster Relief Protocol Guide and engage in meetings with the UWW disaster relief committee to bring perspective from the International Network and see how the IN Team can contribute to crisis relief efforts. In addition, I am creating a visual framework and process map of the International Network Disaster Relief Protocol that connects to a Standard Operating Procedure. I am also conducting research on diaspora communities in the U.S. to connect them to the United Way Worldwide regional office of their home country. My fourth project focuses on building a story and content repository by documenting impactful stories collected from IN regional offices.

How does your internship connect back to your coursework? As a Global Affairs student in the Globalization and Security Track most of my studies focus on an increasingly interconnected world. Every single one of my projects encompasses elements of globalization.

What is the coolest thing about your internship or that has happened during your internship? Living in D.C. is a plus! But as an intern with United Way, I have been able to work with and network with individuals of a global organization. I was given the opportunity to participate in the United Way’s regional VP retreat that took place in Alexandria, Virginia. I connected with the IN Team’s regional CEOs, VPs, and fellow colleagues I communicate with on a daily basis via phone or email. By attending this meeting I was able to meet everyone personally and also hear more about the work they are specifically working on in their regions.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience?  Although this is an internship it sometimes feels like an actual job, which is a great learning experience for when I actually begin my career. Working at United Way Worldwide has been an incredible opportunity. My supervisor and colleagues value my opinion and always engage me in the work they are doing.

What have you learned about yourself? Because the work environment is so welcoming and because I enjoy all the projects I am working on, I look forward to work every day and wouldn’t mind working in an office. I have always focused primarily on positions in the field but this experience has shown me that office work doesn’t always have to be boring.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Be proactive. Network as much as possible, introduce yourself to everyone, talk to people in and outside of your organization, and participate in as many events and activities as possible. Build a name for yourself that nobody will forget!

How has the position increased your professional confidence? This summer I took on projects that I didn’t have any direct or previous experience with. Although I may not have worked on projects like these previously, I caught on quickly and proved to myself that everything is possible if you try.

How has the internship expanded your professional network? This internship has expanded my professional network immensely! Both through United Way Worldwide and other contacts throughout D.C.