University Student Spends Fall in Washington


Last semester University of New Haven junior Kevin Mathieson spent the fall taking classes and interning, not in West Haven, but in Washington, DC. He interned in the Middle East program at the Wilson Center as a staff assistant intern, completing a wide-array of tasks working directly with the director of the program.

This internship was coordinated through the Washington Internship Institute collaboration with the University of New Haven. Mathieson applied through the university and was accepted into the program, which allowed him to receive full-credit for his semester in Washington.

He was accepted in the spring and spent that summer researching internships and writing cover letters, writing samples, and finalizing resumes, while in constant communication with the Washington Internship Institute. The institute aids students in selecting and preparing for internships, but students must help themselves as well.

“They are a big help, but they’re not going to do everything for you,” he said.

Mathieson went into the process prepared with a list of internships he wanted to apply to, and the Wilson Center was high on the list.

“I knew where I wanted to apply,” he said. “This was still one of my top choices, so I was happy.”

As a national security and political science major, with a minor in arabic, he wanted the internship that would help his future career goals. He chose to apply to this particular program because it mirrored the work he would be doing in his future career goal of becoming an analyst in an intelligence agency. He also expressed that he wanted to expand his knowledge of the Middle East.

In his time at the institute he worked directly for the program’s director. His tasks ranged from writing the Middle East news brief to overtaking longer research projects to editing and formatting publications and handling the Middle East program’s Twitter at the Wilson Centerr.

“I would get in in the morning, write a news brief. It was different every day,” he said on his experience. “I did a lot of conducting my own research and was always reading something.”

The internship ran Monday through Friday, excluding Wednesday when he would take classes at the institute.

Mathieson expressed how he grew a lot from the program as a whole, and recommends it to any student with the potential ability to attend.

“My analytical research skills really grew, my writing skills really grew,” he said. “I learned how to interact with high-profile people in a professional environment.”

While he enjoyed his time in Washington, initially, he explained, it was hard to get adjusted.

“I was thrown in in the beginning,” he said. “They expected me to know how to do all these things that I didn’t necessarily know how to do, which is fine, because it’s how it really works.”