Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Meeting....Finally!

So this week I was left on my own a lot...we're at this very limbo point right now in writing and researching for the assessment. Most of the research and writing is done but we are waiting for feedback from our expert panel and decisions that are in the process of being made by the Obama Administration. After realizing that there wasn't much I could do to help this week besides a few phone calls, e-mailing letters, proofing and last minute research, I went to Melanie to see if she need help on her research with the Consortium for Character-Based Leadership. Her project involved looking cases of "truth-tellers" in the government, people who have told the truth about sosmething and have had negative or positive impacts on their career or life. They are putting together a book of all these people. This was actually pretty hard to research because of the specificity she wanted, and I ended up reading through many, many articles I found through Google and ProQuest.

This week I had to make a few phone calls and over the past few weeks it has gotten so much easier to do! When I first started making them I would go over in my head dozens of times what I had to say when someone picked up on the other I only say it a dozen! I know that feeling will go away eventually, but being so young has made me second guess myself a lot...I'm hoping that with age and experience it will go away, at least partially. Already I can see some of my hesitation diminishing, which has been a very rewarding experience.

The one thing that I was very excited about this week was the meeting that we had with General Bantz Craddock and Bruce Weinrod. Ryan asked me to take notes. They were there after attending the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on NATO. Everyone talked so quitely and it was sometimes hard to keep track or hear what they were saying, but all in all I was very proud of myself for understanding quite a bit of what they were talking about! I'm also very excited about our first meeting with the experts on November 16th because I will be there to help and hopefully meet everyone and listen to their opinions on this situation!

Til' next week!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tedious Thursday

Technically this was supposed to be our last week to do research...well, that didn't happen. Monday I spent basically the entire day gathering information--about the opium trade in Afghanistan and its place among world production of poppy, about military capabilities, and about everything ISAF. Before this internship I never thought I would know so much about the international opium trade, or hectares of opium produced in Afghanistan (I didn't even know what a hectare was!) or the number of ASW helicopters each country in NATO has. My job was to find out these things-- without the book of the Military Balance I would never have been able to get most of this work done...and, boy, when I had gotten most of this information by 5 pm Monday, I was very proud of myself! But the work wasn't done yet...

Unfortunatly, I was informed when I came in on Thursday morning that part of our expert advisory team did not like the direction we were headed in for the initial assessment. This was most definitely not what I wanted to hear. While my boss tried to calm down and get everything reorganized, I headed on to DonorPerfect and manage to remember everything I was taught about it over a month earlier. I put all of our contacts from the project into the database--names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mails and all! it was probably some of the most tedious work I have ever done--but I did get it done and that was the end of it! Yay! The rest of the day was filled with finding quotes from high levels officials abroad about the threat to NATO should we fail in Afghanistan, the threat to Europe, and countries individual capabilites. This was also pretty tedious, however I did learn a lot about Defense Ministers, Parlimentarians, and Generals from all over Europe!

I also found out this week that we have our first official Leadership Committee Meeting on November 16th! I'm very excited that I will get to be there and meet all the important people on our Leadership Committee! It will definitely be a highlight to this internship!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crunch Time

On Thursday my boss Ryan called together a "let's make sure we're all on the same track" we laid out everything that has to be done within the next week and goals up to December, and boy, do we have a lot of work to do-- op-eds, case studies, and research assessment ready for our expert advisory team-- and that's just the next two weeks! Our final report, including an assessment with conceptual framework and a book of case studies, needs to be done before their trip to Europe in December. Needless to say, I wish I could be there more days a week to help get everything done--so much to do so little time!

After going through our letters to experts and letters to the leadership committee and letters to European experts, I have started to get used to the language used and etiquette needed when speaking to people of importance...first and most importantly, suck up. If you have any way of complimenting the person, do it because it increases the chances of them being willing to help. I have definitely learned the importance of complimenting someone you want to work for you. Every time I find some piece of information or get a chart or graph or anything really both of my bosses are extremely complimentary, which makes me want to work more and more for them. I'm even beginning to get compliments from people who I'm not working with in the office...major ego booster!

This week I also found myself acting like a giddy school girl after being contacted by Julian Lindley-French himself (through e-mail, but hey, whatever!). You may be asking who this man is...well, Lindley-French works with the Atlantic Council and is a professor of military arts and sciences at the Royal Military Academy of the Netherlands....I know, I'm such a geek, right?

Anyway, that was pretty much my week! Lots of research and writing! I'm sure there's more to come so check back next week to see if we got everything we needed done! Whether that will happen or not, I don't know, but I really do hope so!