Stephanie Villalobos, IPD ’18

William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, Washington, D.C.

To the lover of great American cities and a passion to make a small dent in the world, I highly recommend the William J. Perry Center in Washington DC as a great place to step into to not just do their part, but to also develop themselves professionally and socially.

My experience at the William J. Perry Center in Washington DC was nothing like I thought it would be. Going in as a research and translation assistant for my mentor at the National Defense University, I never thought I would rub shoulders with ministers of defense from Latin America and the Caribbean and all over the world or really anyone that has that much of a direct impact on their countries. After meeting these men and many more working defense and development professionals, I realized how normal they were. They are just average people, doing the best they can with the resources and knowledge they have.

I personally had a difficult time with realizing that every problem of the nation and even the world goes to the capital of our country. Homelessness in every part of the city was uncomfortable coming from Southern California, where homelessness is not as rampant. Mental illness and drug problems was more visable in DC. I also was not prepared for the racial tensions that resided in the city, which I was not sure how to handle. After taking tours through the Capitol Building with my colleagues and learning about the history of our nation, made me realize that the issues we had from the birth of our nation to present time are not much different. Some things have gotten better, others not so much. I left feeling like I had so much more to learn from the city, but my time came to an end.

I recommend the IPSS experience to every eligible student. I feel like it gave me a head start at my career and job opportunities that I did not know existed had I stayed on campus my final semester.

“William J. Perry Center official portrait.”

Click here to check out Stephanie’s project, “Mexico’s Secretariat of Defense Country-Wide Gun Buy-back Program Evaluation”

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