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InterBanner2023

Being an ASPI Intern

As an intern, we want to give you the opportunity to make a practical contribution to developing strategic policy and, in the process, gain some valuable on the job training.

An ASPI Internship provides access to some of Australia’s key contributors to defence and national security policy debates. Interns work closely with our analysts, assisting in the development of research and participating in roundtable discussions with local and international visitors to ASPI.

Interns assist research staff, conduct some of your own research and provide support for a range of ASPI events and activities.

Hear for yourselves...

Some of our fabulous interns...

Afeeya Akhand

Tell us about yourself and why you applied for the ASPI Research Internship?
I am a recent graduate with a Masters in International Security specialising in Korean language from the University of Sydney. My research interests include South Asian foreign policy focusing on Bangladesh and India, climate change and cultural diversity in public sector leadership. I applied for the Research Internship due to my desire to develop my research and writing skills in the areas of national security and international affairs. Working at ASPI is the ideal place for me to develop these skills as I specifically wanted to further my experience in the think tank space.

You are halfway through your ASPI Research Internship, tell us about your most memorable experience so far?
I have had many memorable experiences during my time as a Research Intern. One highlight was hearing the President of the Tibetan Government-in-exile speak about the situation in Tibet at an ASPI roundtable. Another highlight was receiving positive feedback from government stakeholders regarding my Strategist article on the topic of increasing the representation of women of colour in Australian diplomacy. The Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs followed me on Twitter after seeing my article and a High Commissioner reached out to me as well.

What is something you have gained from the ASPI Research Internship that you weren’t expecting?
I did not expect to play such a key role in organising the first in-person Sydney Dialogue, the premier policy summit for critical, emerging, cyber and space technologies. Working on the delivery of this summit honed my event management skills, adaptability and ability to meet tight deadlines. I also had the opportunity to engage and network with a range of high-level government and industry stakeholders as an event organiser.

What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of applying for the ASPI Research Internship?
I advise any recent graduate interested in contributing to ASPI’s work to apply. Even if you do not have a background in policy, national security or international affairs, ASPI looks for graduates with a range of skills such as data analysis, the ability to write well and competency in foreign languages.

 

Luisa Gyhn

Tell us about yourself and why you applied for the ASPI Research Internship?
I am a graduate with a Bachelor of Asian Studies and a Masters in public policy, specialising in international policy, from the Australian National University. My passion for international affairs and policy research led me to apply for the ASPI Research Internship, attracted by the institute's esteemed reputation as a leading think tank in security and defence issues. I saw this internship as a unique opportunity to collaborate with esteemed experts and contribute meaningfully to critical research.

You are halfway through your ASPI Research Internship, tell us about your most memorable experience so far?
Halfway through my ASPI Research Internship, one standout experience has been participating in various thought-provoking roundtable discussions, featuring distinguished figures such as Elizabeth Rosenberg and Lord Chris Pattern. Engaging in substantive discussions with these eminent experts has been incredibly inspiring, offering valuable insights into the complexities of international security challenges.

What is something you have gained from the ASPI Research Internship that you weren’t expecting?
The ASPI Research Internship has also sharpened my event organising abilities. As an intern, I have actively contributed to the coordination of public-facing events, workshops and conferences. This newfound proficiency in event management complements my policy research skills and equips me to excel in diverse professional settings, further enhancing my career prospects.

What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of applying for the ASPI Research Internship?
For anyone considering applying for the ASPI Research Internship, I wholeheartedly encourage you to seize this unparalleled opportunity. Don't hesitate to embrace the challenge of pushing beyond your comfort zone, as working alongside brilliant minds in the field will enable personal and professional growth. The exposure to a diverse range of research topics promises to expand your intellectual horizons significantly. The experience will undoubtedly lay a solid foundation for a rewarding and influential career ahead.

 

Marcus Schultz

Tell us about yourself and why you applied for the ASPI Research Internship?
I am a recent graduate of the University of Western Australian with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations and a Master of International Relations awarded with Distinction. Having had some exposure to think tanks previously, I applied to the ASPI Research Internship to work with some of the country’s best strategic thinkers and experts and to increase my understanding of Australian strategic policy, particularly in relation to the US-Australia Alliance and all things deterrence.

You are halfway through your ASPI Research Internship, tell us about your most memorable experience so far?
Early on in the internship, I was fortunate to attend a two-day wargaming conference and begin building my professional network within the Australian Defence Force. My interactions with defence personnel and planners gave me confidence to author a Strategic Insight paper exploring the opportunities for cooperation between US ground forces and the Australian Army post the Defence Strategic Review. It was fantastic to pursue my research interests and at the same time make a tangible contribution to ASPI’s core mission.

What is something you have gained from the ASPI Research Internship that you weren’t expecting?
I have gained technical skills working in a development environment through exposure to ASPI’s Techtracker project. The opportunity to learn R, RStudio and Git as well as familiarise myself with data analytics best practices has been a welcome and fulfilling experience. Using these newfound tools has not only opened up avenues for collaboration across different teams at ASPI but also furthered my ability to conduct quantitative research using evidence-based methodologies.

What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of applying for the ASPI Research Internship?
Interns are extended a great deal of trust and independence to pursue their own research interests, making the ASPI Research Internship a perfect entry point into a rewarding career. I would encourage any applicant, regardless of age, experience or background, to be inquisitive and prepared to pitch new ideas.

 

 

Shivangi Seth

Tell us about yourself and why you applied for the ASPI Research Internship?
I’m an IR and human rights enthusiast with a Bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations and a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the ANU. I am passionate about research and writing, specifically in anything to do with South Asian geopolitics, transitional justice, peacebuilding, and the Women, Peace, Security agenda. I wanted to work with a research organisation that contributed to Australia’s national and international policymaking on areas of both traditional and non-traditional security, and that is what led me to ASPI.

You are halfway through your ASPI Research Internship, tell us about your most memorable experience so far?
Working with ASPI’s India program has enabled me to partake in private engagements with significant government stakeholders, including the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Being privy to these conversations has been a key highlight of the internship experience for me since, as an international student a few years ago, I always imagined being an external observer to the corridors of policymaking in Canberra. Instead, ASPI has truly catapulted me into Canberra’s policy circle.

What is something you have gained from the ASPI Research Internship that you weren’t expecting?
Through my internship, I have been given the opportunity to develop expertise in cyber security, cyber capacity-building, and the international norms and law surrounding it. Cyber policy is a completely new area of research for me, but doing this research has helped me establish a valuable foundation in a topic that is of critical importance for both public and private organisations in today’s geopolitical environment.

What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of applying for the ASPI Research Internship?
Find a healthy balance between how you can contribute to ASPI’s ongoing projects to hone your research, project management, and organisational skills while simultaneously building on your own research interests. ASPI provides an extremely supportive environment for interns to pitch their own research projects based on their areas of interest – use this opportunity to tap into the amazing network of scholars and reviewers that ASPI provides and build your niche.

Updated: 12 Sep 2023