by Elizabeth Carter

Amid a global pandemic, finding silver linings can be difficult and feel a bit tone-deaf; but at a time when most everything seems to be falling apart, I am grateful that these challenging circumstances and my training in SPIA precipitated an impactful professional opportunity for me during summer 2020. After hearing from Delta Airlines at the end of March that the internship program to which I had committed seven months prior was cancelled due to the pandemic, I all but completely resigned to the possibility that I would not have a job for my penultimate collegiate summer.

As a Double-Dawg completing both my Master of International Policy and Bachelor of International Affairs degrees in four years, I have been reminded constantly of the importance of accruing professional experience in order to be competitive against other recent graduate students who have had six years to complete internships and fellowships. For this reason, I decided to post on LinkedIn to see if anyone may know of a recently opened opportunity at what felt like the final hour. In a great stroke of luck, a connection of mine saw my post and reached out on behalf of the UPS Global Public Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. After interviewing with the office, in a whirlwind of generosity, UPS PA invited me to stay at their Townhouse on Capitol Hill and work in-person at their socially distanced office.

My official title was International Legislative Assistant, and I had the opportunity to work across the office’s portfolio. Broadly, I supported UPS’s efforts both in shaping global trade policy and their women-owned business initiatives. The breadth of the projects under that umbrella spanned from assisting in the creation of the testimony on the future of the World Trade Organization— which was delivered to US Senate Finance Committee in July by Laura Lane, the Chief of Corporate Affairs and Communication who reports to the CEO— to building an online landing site to support the over 6,000 women-owned businesses in emerging markets that have interacted with UPS’s Women Exporters Program. I also had the opportunity to engage in COVID research, election policies, and United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) related research, working with policy experts at all levels of the office. This experience taught me a great deal in understanding how to work across an office’s portfolio as well as with managers at different seniority levels simultaneously.

I am certain that my fortune in securing this position during a global pandemic is entirely due to the stellar training I have received at SPIA. From understanding the value of succinct policy writing to the nuances of health and development policy, I felt well prepared to contribute to the bustling office and look forward to starting a career in an environment that similarly capitalizes upon my SPIA experience.