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International Institute for Strategic Studies, Washington D.C.

Alex Polivka

Alex Polivka.
"During Spring Quarter 2012, I was fortunate enough to spend ten weeks living and working in Washington DC. As a John Glenn Fellow at the Glenn School of Public Policy, I was set up with an internship that fit my studies at Ohio State while receiving credit for a policy seminar we attended every Friday. My time in DC was spent working, learning, exploring, and thriving in our nation's capital and I will never get another chance in my life to enjoy so much in such a short period of time.

Being a Security and Intelligence major with a minor and study experience in Russian, I fit in perfectly at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The IISS is a think-tank based in London that has three other offices in Singapore, Bahrain, and Washington. It is known as the leading authority on global security as it provides facts, analysis, and influence on conflicts occurring around the world. I was lucky enough to work with the IISS for the full ten weeks of my program. As a research and operations intern, I had two main tasks in the office. One was to research security conflicts occurring in Russia, the North Caucasus region, and Central Asian states. I provided weekly and monthly updates on security, political, and social trends occurring in these countries along with a list of human fatalities to enter into our Armed Conflict Database (ACD). The other task was to maintain day-to-day operations of the office. This could be anything from inviting important dignitaries, journalists, and government officials to our speaking events, to filing simple cash receipts in our cabinets. There was always something going on during all eight hours of the work day, and the experience was extremely invaluable in helping to prepare myself for a professional career outside of college.

After working Monday through Thursday, the Friday morning policy seminar was the last thing for us Glenn Fellows to focus on before we could enjoy the weekend. Every week, our director would assign us many different policy readings from American history for us to discuss, and be quizzed over, on Friday. We also were required to write a policy paper pertaining to our studies here and create a viable, working policy for a grade. I chose to tackle the ongoing conflict in Syria, with the recommendation that a multi-national stabilization force led by Turkey start the conflict resolution. After the policy seminar, we got to go on tours to different DC buildings and landmarks such as the Capitol, the Library of Congress, Mount Vernon, and the CIA. All of these experiences were extremely neat to take part in.

Once the weekend rolled around, we could do whatever we wanted to in order to relax from a long week. As Glenn Fellows we went to a Nationals baseball game, went to movies, went to the Smithsonian’s I-Max shows, toured around town, and tried a lot of delicious food at DC’s many exquisite restaurants. Personally, I enjoyed running 5k road races on Saturday or Sunday mornings and then relaxing the rest of the day. One of my favorite things to do was walk around the Capitol building at night, because it was an awesome feeling to know that I was, in a small way, a part of Washington’s history. The Glenn School's Washington Academic Internship Program was one of the best experiences I could have possibly found during my time at Ohio State and I hope that other Buckeyes are able to find programs that fit their studies and aspirations just as WAIP and the IISS did for me."