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What I did with my summer.. two students’ stories

Photo taken by Jennifer Osias - PD 2015

Photo taken by Jennifer Osias – Public Diplomacy Candidate, 2015

We have around 70 students enter the MA IR degree program each year.  Given their international interests – the fact that they can complete their MA IR with two semesters on campus – and two anywhere in the world is a big draw for this program.  Over the past three years students in the MA IR have completed internships in over 50 different countries and the US.

Having a strong practical application of what is learned in the classroom is a hallmark of the Maxwell School’s  IR curriculum.

Here are two stories of what our students did with their summers..

Jennifer Osias 
MA IR / MS PR – Public Diplomacy Candidate 2015

I spent my summer interning with the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. I worked in the Public Affairs sections, which gave me opportunity to work with different local and international media outlets. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with other U.S. agencies including the U.S. Commercial Service and the Office of Defense Cooperation. My favorite accomplishment was planning the Fourth of July diplomatic reception, held at Singapore’s famous Marina Bay Sands. The reception featured iconic American companies from Disney to Microsoft to Harley Davidson. This internship was valuable as I was able to use my communications skills in an international setting while working on transnational issues.  It was the perfect complement to the Public Diplomacy program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

I was also able to explore the rich culture of Singapore. Singapore has a large Chinese population, so I was able to build upon the language classes I took at Syracuse University.

My coursework on the history and politics of South East Asia peeked my curiosity about the region so I made time to explore nearby countries. I listened to local music while watching the sunset in Indonesia, discovered the night markets in Malaysia, raced in a tuk tuk through the back allies of Thailand and went back in time in the ancient Angkor Wat temples of Cambodia.

Because of the opportunities offered at Maxwell, I was able to use this summer to grow professionally and personally while making lasting memories.

SU’s Public Diplomacy students earn both the MA IR from Maxwell and the MS – Public Relations from the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications. It is earned in two years of full time study with a summer and spring term away from campus for participation in practical internships associated with their chosen careers! 

Ellis Cortez
JD/MA IR Candidate, 2015  

This summer I interned with the U.S. Department of Justice, Buffalo Immigration Court. Interning with the Buffalo Immigration Court provided me with a great experience in immigration and asylum law. As an intern, I drafted judicial opinions granting and denying relief in various cases, including asylum, cancellation of removal, and withholding of removal. Additionally, I was also able to take a trip to one of the detention facilities, where I was able to observe judges who handle the criminal-detained cases.

Writing for the Court allowed me to explore numerous interesting and developing areas of the law. I drafted judicial opinions on cases involving crimes of moral turpitude, credibility issues, and asylum claims based on political opinion and membership of a particular social group. I received direct feedback from the immigration judge and law clerk. Moreover, I took advantage of the opportunity to observe the immigration judge on the bench. I had detailed discussions with the judge on the law and how he makes his decisions. Interning with the Buffalo Immigration Court was an amazing experience. I learned critical thinking skills, expanded my knowledge of immigration law, and acquired the ability to impartially analyze a respondent’s claim for relief.

The Maxwell School’s internship coordinator was instrumental in me securing this internship. It has proven to be a critical component, melding my JD studies at SU College of Law with the Maxwell School’s International Relations program. The experience I gained this summer will be invaluable in reaching my future career goals.

SU’s joint JD/MA IR program is completed in the same three year format at all other JD programs… and still allows for a summer practical experience, at home or abroad! 


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