Meet #CrusaderIntern Michael Melch ’20, International Law Institute

Full Name: Michael Melch ‘20

Summer Internship: International Law Institute

 

1. What were you up to this past summer?

Last summer I interned at the International Law Institute in Georgetown, DC. I was responsible for the preparation of training seminars for international lawyers. My duties included marketing the seminars, coordinating with the experts who taught the seminar regarding the necessary materials, and interacting with participants to ensure that the meetings ran smoothly. As a result, I was able to attend many of the seminars on topics ranging from legislative drafting to anti-trust and competition.

2. What was your favorite part?

I really enjoyed interacting with the participants of the seminars who came from countries all over the world, such as Italy, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Nigeria, and the Philippines, to name a few. The seminars often included site visits, and one of the highlights of my internship was leading a group of Chinese lawyers from the Shanghai Bar Association on a tour of the Supreme Court and US Capitol. Also, the International Law Institute arranged professional development trips designed for the interns to learn about various legal and economic organizations. The visits included law firms, the Federal Trade Commission, and my favorite, the World Bank.

3. What surprised you?

I was surprised by how many different nationalities came to expand their legal knowledge at the International Law Institute to better prepare themselves for their profession in their home countries. The specialized legal education and training may not be available in their home countries so they come to Washington D.C. to advance their legal careers or improve for the career they already have.

Meet #CrusaderIntern Delaney Wells ‘20, The Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section

Name: Delaney Wells ‘20

DC Internship: The Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section

 

1. What were you up to this past semester?

I worked as a legal intern in the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice. Interns came in before attorneys, architects, and investigators to begin work. My supervisor collected projects and tasks from other employees and assigned them among interns. This ensured we all had the opportunity to work on different cases concerning the ADA. I worked on a variety of projects at the same time, keeping my supervisor updated on my status through a spreadsheet tracking my progress. We reported directly to the attorney overseeing our project. This allowed me to establish excellent working and personal relationships through setting deadlines, editing assignments, grabbing lunch and  even attending an oral argument at the Supreme Court together. I took advantage of opportunities including brown bag lunches with attorneys, a special tour of the White House, and attending working groups with different agencies. These allowed for a holistic understanding of the Disability Rights Section, the organization of the Justice Department, and the inner-workings of politics in the Capital.

 

2. What was your favorite part?

I was able to complement my time at the Justice Department with sharing time in a local L’Arche community in Arlington,  VA. This allowed me to achieve a holistic approach to disability through technical and social perspectives. Sharing life in this home throughout the semester gave me a deeper and more complete understanding of how the work done by lawyers, architects, and investigators impacts the daily life of citizens.  Along with interning every day, I spent my Fridays and weekends at the L’Arche 6th Street home in Arlington, VA. Sharing time with the core members has provided a social dimension to complement the technical understanding of disability that I have gained through the DOJ. Learning about accessibility challenges, institutional conditions, rights and regulations introduced in Section 504 all come to life when I go to 6th Street and witness the struggle that many core members work through each day. From voting poll accessibility to lack of ASL translators at medical facilities, I have gained a full appreciation of the importance of the work within the Disability Rights Section. The complementary technical and social dimensions allowed me to begin discerning my vocation through practice of techniques I have learned on retreats and in spiritual groups on campus. My mind often jumped to the questions, “who am I, who do I want to become, and who do I want to be for and with others?”. I am leaving with some sort of understanding of the direction my life may take in disability advocacy. I will take this semester to reflect intentionally on my experience and see how it shapes my future regarding law school and further involvement in area of disability study, which is where I have truly found my home.

 

3. What surprised you?

I expected to work exclusively with lawyers each day as I was working in the Justice Department. However, this was not the case. Each day was totally different and I never knew what to expect. I was able to work on a case being actively litigated, with architects, service animal cases, and more. The variety  I was amazed at the amount of case work we were able to work on throughout the semester. On a day to day basis I worked on several memorandums for attorneys. These assignments allowed me to hone my writing skills and analytical thinking. I learned how to blue-book, a type of legal citation, when citing violations for a settlement agreement. I became acquainted with the Westlaw, Relativity, and Lexis platforms when performing background research on witnesses for a case that is being actively litigated. The varied experience I had at the Department of Justice has resulted in an ultimate understanding of the American Disabilities Act and its impact on citizens through advocacy as a platform for equality. I was treated like another employee within the Justice Department, not just as an intern.

Meet Summer Intern Laura Escolero ‘19, Research Assistant, Boston City Councilor Kim Janey

Full Name: Laura Escolero ‘19

Summer Internship: Boston City Councilor Kim Janey

What were you up to this past summer?

This past summer I was a research intern for Councilor Janey’s office of the seventh district of Boston. Most of my work had to do with researching and brainstorming plans for many issues that the city of Boston is facing such as gentrification, gun violence, trauma, homelessness, and education. During my time working for the city councilor, I was able to sit in many briefs and meetings and understand the process of local government rulings and procedures. I was also able to meet many of the local constituents and hear their voices and opinions on the issues we were directly working on at town hall and community/neighborhood meetings. This was definitely an eye opening and transformative experience as I was able to network and learn about the many challenges my home is facing and how I individually can hold my city representatives accountable.

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part about the internship was that it was very student oriented and I was able to work on issues that I cared the most about. For example, every intern did a research project of their choice and I researched police surveillance through the use of new emerging drones as it was a very concerning issue for many of the residents in Boston. All of the other offices also had college interns and every Friday we would all take “field trips” to local service centers and other community venues to learn about organizations that are helping the city with issues of housing, emergencies, and law enforcement to name a few.

What surprised you?

The most surprising part about my internship was how city councilors and many employees in city hall work all hours of the day and really take into consideration every single complaint or petition of constituents. I really didn’t realize how local officials take their work home everyday in order to improve conditions for each of their districts and how they work tirelessly to really get to know and be in solidarity with their residents.

Meet Alum Ajit Bhullar ’18, Intern with Public Citizen

Meet Alum Ajit Bhullar ’18, Intern with Public Citizen

 

Name: Ajit Bhullar

Class Year: 2018

Current Title/Employer: Intern with Public Citizen

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

In a time when our democratic process is being undermined now more than ever before, my role with Public Citizen primarily entails serving as a voice for the people through such means as organizing campaigns and grassroots movements.

What if any, unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

Reflecting on what it was I wanted to be doing that could be meaningful is what led to me wanting to enter this line of political work. I genuinely took the time to evaluate what it was that I wanted to do with myself to help establish a more positive impact on our society, which now more than ever is so important as we face a time of extreme divisiveness in politics. Ultimately, my drive to want to work towards this helped bring me to where I am now and paved the path on which I plan to continue.  

How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

Knowing what my passions and interests were really helped make this decision easy. For me, it was never about simply having a job; but rather, I wanted to do something where I felt I was having an impact and helping bring about real change in our world today. I knew this think tank group in particular would be a good fit for me due to the fact that despite the ever changing dynamics of the political realm, Public Citizen remains focused and true to their mission statement of always working as an advocate for the people and for the well being of society. In today’s politics, you just do not see enough openness, honesty, and transparency and because of this, I knew Public Citizen was the group for me.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

I was a member of and captained the mock trial team, served as an Odyssey mentor, led a manresa retreat, volunteered with Working for Worcester, and studied abroad among various other activities during my time on the hill!

What was your major and how has it affected your career decisions?   

My major of philosophy had a profound impact on helping me pave my career path, as it taught me to always be in pursuit of knowledge and answers to some of the biggest challenges and fundamental questions we face in life. Philosophy as a major has had a positive effect on my decision to enter political work for this very reason. As part of my work, there is not simply a “one size fits all” solution to many of the issues, and because of this, it becomes important to truly and honestly evaluate everything and work towards getting to the root of the issue in order to handle and understand not only the problem itself but what then becomes necessary to fix the problem.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

One important aspect I attribute to Holy Cross is understanding the importance of always being in the pursuit of justice and working for the well being of the community. Rooted in Jesuit values, acquiring this knowledge over the course of my Holy Cross education has only begun to manifest itself in the work I do. I hold this tradition in high regards when evaluating problems and seeking solutions to the various issues I am working on. Another important skill is to have a nice balance between both being confident and being humble. Learning to find the harmony amongst the two allows you to gain an honest understanding of not only your strengths, but also, on areas of yourself that can always be improved upon. This skill has been useful in my work as it has allowed me to not only be able to make a contribution from day one, but also, to sometimes sit back and understand a different perspective that I may otherwise have not realized. While I could go on for much longer about ways in which Holy Cross prepared me for the real world, I believe these are two important factors that Holy Cross helped instill in me which in turn allowed me to find and pursue my passions in life while also always seeking to gain a better understanding of the world around me.

Meet Alumna Erin Connolly ’17, Program Assistant- Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Meet Alumna Erin Connolly ’17, Program Assistant- Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

 

Name: Erin Connolly

Class Year: 2017

Current Title/Employer:   Program Assistant/ Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I work to educate the public and policymakers (Congress) on nuclear nonproliferation and fissile materials policy by helping plan and host various events; writing op-eds; and briefing congressional staffers on our issues.

What and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?   

I wrote a paper my sophomore year for a National Security course that argued for a nuclear deal with Iran. While writing this paper, I found myself fascinated by nuclear nonproliferation policy, and it quickly became one of my favorite topics. I left for France, and when it came time to look for an internship I applied to the Center, using that paper as my writing sample. This internship was a vital introduction to the nuclear policy world. It provided me with the foundational knowledge to succeed, but also allowed me to make professional connections while living in Washington, D.C. which is how I learned about the position I currently hold.

How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

My internship experience solidified my interest in the nuclear nonproliferation field. I was able to explore the various facets, from Iran, and North Korea, to U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. My current position involves much more engagement with Congressional staffers and fissile materials; basically I do a lot of work to answer any questions they may have about highly enriched uranium, plutonium stockpiles, preventing nuclear terrorism and other subjects in this domain. We host dinners for members of Congress, a unique opportunity for engagement and education. I also am able to continue writing, I was fortunate enough to get a piece published in Teen Vogue with a colleague in the field (and former fellow intern!) and it’s great to connect with people my age on these issues.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?   

I was involved in the Purple Key Society, which is quite helpful for my event planning now; HEAL, Model UN, SPUD site leader, Manresa, Gateways, Appalachia trips, and I also worked in the History department,

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?   

I was an International Studies major, French minor and Peace and Conflict concentration. I loved engaging with the multidisciplinary major and in some ways I continue to do that. I am always continuing to learn in this job — from policy to science — and that is something I loved at Holy Cross and am grateful I get to bring that into my career.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?   

The importance of asking questions and networking. It is always better to ask questions and do something correctly then to do it wrong. Everyone would prefer to answer your questions than to have you do it again! And networking is one of those things I did not want to believe was important, but it is. Maintaining relationships and connections is so key, especially when you work in a field that’s small like mine! I knew D.C. had gotten to me when I began bringing cards to every happy hour because you just never know who you will meet — friends of friends are great connections.