Julia Lipkis, IPD ’18

 International Rescue Committee

When I arrived for my first day at the IRC headquarters in New York, I had no idea what to expect. As my supervisor led me down labyrinthine corridors towards my desk, I felt completely at a loss. Everyone was busy working on a specific project, or speaking with each other about upcoming events, their dialogue peppered with unknowable acronyms. How could I hope to fit in?

Within a week, I had become entirely comfortable with my new colleagues and coworkers. The following are some tips that I found to be most useful in starting a new internship–or job.

1) Ask questions! At first, I felt unsure about revealing what I took to be ignorance about the inner workings of the office. At any organization, particularly a large one like the IRC, there are specific communications and processes that will seem unusual or confusing at first. Luckily, everyone from the other interns to my supervisor had all been in the same boat once and were more than happy to guide me through my first days and weeks learning the ropes.

2) Set up informational interviews. IPSS is has been such a great opportunity for me, because not only do I get to explore subjects I am passionate about, but I can speak with others who are just as excited about domestic policy towards refugees as I am, and have made a career from their passion! These interviews have provided me with invaluable advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the MIIS alumni services, who will be happy to provide you with a list of former alumna who work in the same field and whom you can contact.

3) Your MIIS experience will serve you well in your IPSS placement. Working off of classes provided by MIIS professors, I have been able to bring new material and ideas to my supervisor and to the area in which I am working, Monitoring and Evaluation.

“Working on a blog post at the IRC New York office.”

¬†Click here to check out Julia’s project, “5 Steps for Establishing Research Partnerships.”

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