Centre College’s Centre-in-Washington program is giving international studies major Samuel McIntyre ’20 (Louisville, Kentucky) the opportunity to intern with the Meridian International Center, a non-profit organization that strengthens U.S. engagement with the world and accelerates collaboration through the exchange of leaders, ideas and culture.
“My goal for several years has been to have an internship here in Washington, D.C.,” McIntyre said. “My past trips to D.C. conveyed to me that important work happens here and I wanted to be a part of that.”
The organization was founded in 1960 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. McIntyre said it is a wonderful opportunity to be there during a momentous year.
He said Meridian’s mission can be summed up in one word: diplomacy. There are two main divisions of the organization that work with large-scale exchange programs. The first one is the Professional Exchanges Division, which implements the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ flagship exchange program and the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Meridian has also been a principal partner with the Department of State in the IVLP’s implementation.
The other division, where McIntyre works, is the GlobalConnect Division.
This division was established in 2001 to pursue new business opportunities for the organization. Most of its projects involve the development and implementation of exchange programs for professionals and university and high-school students, sponsored by U.S. embassies around the world, U.S. Government agencies and private-sector firms. The programs cover a wide array of issues, and they continually develop grant proposals—solicited and unsolicited—for government agencies and foundations.
“As a Global Programs Intern, I have worked on many GlobalConnect programs, such as the Pan-African Youth Leadership, Study of U.S. Institutes and Central Asian Journalists Programs,” McIntyre said. “I help with the logistics of these programs, such as preparing contact lists, inputting visitor data, stuffing the visitors’ folders, creating visitors’ name badges and reading prospective visitors’ applications. I have also prepared project proposals and done other miscellaneous tasks. I appreciate how integrated I have become to the work at Meridian. Just recently, I sat in on a business development meeting as well as a professional exchange meeting I helped to organize.”
What drew McIntyre to apply for this internship was the similarity to the work he did last summer at the World Affairs Council of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, where he wrote project proposals and helped with the implementation of two IVLP programs at the grassroots level.
“I figured that if I were to get this internship, it would be an excellent way to sharpen a certain skill-set that will be useful in the future,” he said.
In addition to his prior internship experience, McIntyre said Centre has also prepared him for this position in multiple ways.
“Centre’s vigorous writing curriculum has helped me to know how to get my point across in a clear, concise way,” he added. “The level of research Centre has required me to do prepared me well for small research projects and proposals.”
He credits Lori Hartmann, Frank B. and Virginia B. Hower Professor of International Studies and interim director of the Center for Global Citizenship, for teaching him how to be a better writer and researcher.
McIntyre has also been able to use his French skills to read through participants’ project proposals.
“Centre’s language curriculum is rigorous but very rewarding,” he said.
He also credits Allison Connolly, associate professor of French, for what she has taught him during his time at Centre.
“Both of these professors encouraged me to follow the path that was laid before me,” he added.
Additionally, the time he spent abroad in Strasbourg with Jeff Fieberg, John H. Walkup Professor of Chemistry, inspired, within him, a yearning for international studies.
“In general, I am thankful to Centre’s commitment to group discussion and problem-solving,” he said. “This is a very useful skill in non-profit work.”
McIntyre’s current career goal is to work in international affairs at a non-profit, think tank or private organization.
“I see this opportunity not only as a one-and-done experience but as a way to improve myself in order to achieve that goal,” he concluded. “Therefore, I can definitely see myself in the international exchange business in the future. I want to continue to use the skills I have garnered at Centre and at Meridian in order to effect positive change however I can.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 12, 2020