Internship at the United Nations

Bicek, a senior from Chicago, spent the spring 2017 semester in New York City, after being selected for internships in both New York and Vilnius, Lithuania.

She chose New York over Lithuania because the former involved human rights-based work, which suits her academic and professional interests; the latter involved councilor work, such as looking over visas.

Bicek was assigned to the human rights section within the State Department’s economic and social council. She worked for the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), which includes nonprofits and charities.

“I helped NGOs become accredited through the United Nations so that they can go to U.N. meetings and present their findings,” Bicek said.

She was also a part of a committee research project that consisted of reviewing 400 NGO applications in two weeks and deciding which of those organizations got to speak at the U.N.

“When the actual committee was in session I would go to the meetings and take notes for my advisor,” Bicek said.

In addition Bicek also worked on other human rights issues, such as the Commission on Enforced Disappearances, the Commission of the Status of Women and the Commission on Population Development.

“Our students are passionate about world affairs and Kaitlynrose is an excellent example of our students' ambitious dedication to service,” said Chris Agnew, director of the international studies program.

“Her supervisor at the United States Mission to the United Nations, in evaluating her work with the U.N. Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, described her as dedicated, dependable and self-motivated,” Agnew said. “Whether or not she works in the diplomatic field, Kaitlynrose now has an experience that will serve her well in whatever profession she chooses to pursue.”

Bicek received three semester hours for her work with the State Department and said her experience as an intern was surprising in a very positive way.

“I expected to be a coffee intern where I would just fetch coffee and make copies and that did happen occasionally, but my supervisor was very big on only doing substantive work, so that was really exciting,” Bicek said.

She started her internship the same day President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated.

“When we first got there it was totally overwhelming, we had no idea what foreign policy was going to be,” Bicek said.

Since returning to the University, Bicek has been talking to students about the importance of internships. She also is the secretary general of the Model U.N. club. She's been working on making the club more accurate to the U.N. and to bring in more topics about policies, commission and international law. She believes the internship helped develop her writing and built up her confidence.

“It’s really surreal, it felt so normal but I know something that I worked on ended up on the president’s desk,” Bicek said.

The University’s international studies program provides students with the international perspective and skills needed to solve problems that transcend national boundaries throughout a successful career in education, government, international business, law, national and homeland security, humanitarian relief, or social entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the program, visit the international studies program’s website.

- Clare Gallagher ‘18

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