Summer Intern, Center for Climate Security (CCS)
My time at the Center for Climate Security (CCS) was eye opening. Operating in a small think tank focused on a specific, progressive issue has afforded me the opportunity to interact with some of the top practitioners in the field and gain a deeper understanding of climate security’s complexity. In addition, CCS has exposed me to communication channels and methods which think tanks and industry professionals use to accomplish their goals.
Lessons Learned from IPSS
I think the most important, very broad lesson I learned about succeeding is that assertiveness is key. My program manager made it clear that she appreciated my willingness to approach potential Working Group participants on Twitter, volunteering to give reports at quarterly meetings and my method of facilitating Working Group discussions. During my initial discussion facilitation I didn’t take enough initiative to rein in the conversation and the other staff and I recognized that its outcome wasn’t as thorough as the others. I worked hard to moderate the subsequent sessions and inserted myself more by synthesizing the discussion on a white board to ensure that the whole group followed the conversation. This both yielded better results and allowed me to establish better rapport with the group members.
In terms of organization, I found that making an effort to interact with all of the staff and affiliates was helpful. As they saw me more often they understood my interests more and allowed me to join in different CCS programs, such as when sat in on and participated in congressional outreach strategy meetings with high level practitioners and learned about the lobbying process.
Outside of establishing myself among the organization staff, my final report’s topic contributed to my success within the organization and career specialization. Writing the report has been extremely challenging and required significant overhauls and many, many revisions to ensure its relevance to the organization and factuality. By choosing an extremely complex, unexplored topic I asserted my interest and commitment to contributing to the wider field and willingness to take a risk. Once finished, the report will be published by CCS, which will advance my professional reputation and increase my professional online visibility in a positive manner.
In terms of career specialization, my successes facilitating, moderating and contributing to Working Group discussions on the nuclear/climate security nexus helped me to better understand minute details about this nexus and exposed me to further issues that I had been completely unaware of. This knowledge helped to inform my final report and initiated further research for personal interest. In addition to learning more about the field, I gained exposure to nuclear, climate change, climate security leaders and well-known journalists, allowing me to expand my personal network.