Molly Ward is a second-year MSIA student from Lawrenceville, GA. She pursued her undergraduate degree at Georgia State University, where she became heavily involved in domestic politics and eventually became President of the Young Democrats club. From that experience, she gained a lot of knowledge about the workings of political systems and state politics and got to know important figures in the community. During her senior year, she did a year-long exchange program in Paris, France at the University of Versailles to study European politics and economics. With this background, she earned an internship with the European Parliament office in Washington, DC, working on cybersecurity issues. Her work also earned her an extension in Brussels for the summer. We asked her a few questions about her internships with the European Parliament and how her time at Tech helped her succeed in his internship.
What did you enjoy most about your internship and what did you find most challenging?
Every country has its own perspective on how the European Union should function, but somehow they make it work despite their diversity. I really respect their desire to unite while still maintaining cultural identities. I love working with people from all over Europe. Just observing the small differences between how political systems work is fascinating. For example, at European Parliamentary hearings, they serve tea and coffee!
Being an American in a European institution is the most challenging aspect. Most of the people working here already know the important people and are familiar with certain processes, such as codecision. I always have to look up the Chairperson of a committee. There’s a learning curve, but that is the reason why I’m here.
Tell us about an experience that made an impression on you during your internship.
One of the coolest experiences was having the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Strasbourg. Once every month, the Parliament will pack up and travel to Strasbourg for plenary session. The entire week was incredibly busy, but it was fascinating to finally participate in a plenary session after preparing memos about data protection for committees. Plenary is the busiest time of the month and it was exciting to see decisions being made, especially when they voted on the EU-US trade and investment agreement.
In what ways did your time at Tech prepare you for the internship?
While in DC, I was writing a lot of memos to send to Brussels. Writing policy briefings and memos in my classes really made the process quite easy. Additionally, the INTA program puts a lot of emphasis on sharing your ideas. I felt like because of that, I was able to provide the office with new ideas to promote the work they’re doing. Lastly, just being culturally sensitive is important. When you know about a person’s home country, they feel proud and you are able to positively represent Americans.