Every officer has a unique path to the Agency, and CIA interns are no exception. CIA.gov recently sat down with a leadership analyst intern in the Directorate of Analysis (DA) working in the South & Central Asia Mission Center to learn more about her journey to the CIA and her experiences during her Graduate Fellowship.
Tell us about your path to CIA:
I was an international affairs major in my undergraduate studies, and had always hoped to work for the Agency, but never knew how to get here. While as an undergraduate student, I attended a networking event, and an alumni who worked for the CIA took me under her wing and guided me through the application process for a Graduate Fellowship, and helped me begin a career that has opened my eyes to a different, more critical, way of thinking. The internship has enabled me to pursue research and writing while having a real impact on the surrounding world.
Describe your experiences as an analyst intern in the DA:
In my time as a Graduate Fellow, I’ve worked right alongside full-time staff so that I have a glimpse of what my career at the CIA could look like in the future. Within my first month, I was able to write and publish products, gain a deep understanding on my region of the world, and collaborate with staff to analyze global events. When I started, I was so surprised to hear about all the different rotations and regions that other analysts have worked throughout their time with the Agency, as if they had many different careers in just one “job.” As someone who has always been excited by new topics and new experiences, I was thrilled to learn that I could undertake a variety of diverse jobs through my path at the Agency. I wanted to continue to learn and stay in the loop so much that I decided to continue working here while in graduate school.
What is your favorite thing about your internship experience?
Every day, I have learned more than I could learn in a classroom about cultural understanding and the policymaking processes. One of the coolest parts of the internship is getting a behind-the-scenes view of stories we talked about in my undergraduate courses, and being able to see a story different than the media shows, to really understand why our policymakers made a decision or took a certain foreign policy approach.
Most important to me about this internship is that I am able to feel like a part of a community of smart and moral people, all working toward one purpose — protecting the country. I love knowing the work I do makes a difference and keeps my family and friends safe, and it makes all the hard workdays worth it when I can go home with that feeling.