SUNY Plattsburgh student Michael Pelzer takes initiative as WOLA intern

Michael Pelzer, a senior International/Latin American Studies and History major from SUNY Plattsburgh, is currently interning in the Washington Office on Latin America as a part of the Regional Securities program. Michael talks about his experience below:

My time at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) has been one of the most dynamic experiences of my life. I have had the opportunity to take part in historic events, meet prolific individuals in the human rights community, and feel as if I am doing a genuine service. My internship essentially breaks down into two divergent parts. My primary role is with the regional securities program where I have had the opportunity to write original research papers that have been published on the WOLA sponsored website Just the Facts, provided original research, and compiled information pertaining to arms transfers, civil military relationships and, military training. My secondary role is with the foundations program where I have provided foundation research, written grants, compiled interim reports, and assisted in the organization of funder events. Additionally I have taken on a number of unique tasks including live-streaming events, greeting diplomats, and of course making the odd pot of coffee.

The majority of these experiences and opportunities were not originally part of my internship, nor were they offered to me. By being proactive, identifying, and seeking out opportunities I was able to take on greater responsibility than most interns. My intern advisors and coordinators have rewarded my interest and drive by seating me with greater chances of success; the moral here is that if you want to do something, it never hurts to ask.