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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...

In this podcast, some of our recent interns speak about the research projects they contributed to while at ASPI. Also Fiona, ASPI's HR manager, speaks candidly about some of the things she's looking for when considering Internship applications and gives some great tips for prospective applicants!

 

Some of our fabulous previous interns...

 

Genevieve Feely

Please tell us about yourself and your research interests
I’m an Arts/Law graduate from the University of Queensland interested in multilateralism, peace operations and the responsibility to protect.

During your time with ASPI, describe your experience in developing relationships and networking
ASPI’s events calendar throughout the year is incredibly packed and incredibly interesting. If you are interested in networking, these events offer a perfect opportunity to do so.

Describe the opportunities provided by ASPI and the skills and experiences you have gained throughout the internship
Through the projects I have been involved with, I’ve been able to hone project management and research skills more than I ever thought I would in such a short time period across a range of different projects including for the International Program and The North and Australia's Security Program.

What was the most memorable part of your internship at ASPI?
Overall, the people here at ASPI have been the most memorable part of this experience because of the supportive and collegiate nature of the organisation. However, attending a reception at Government House and meeting the Governor-General was a particularly memorable moment of the internship as well.

If there was one thing you would say to a future ASPI Research Intern, what would it be?
Even if a research project doesn’t seem to align with your previous research interests, say yes and embrace the opportunity – every project here at ASPI will teach you important skills and provide you with the opportunity to work with phenomenal people in the organisation.

 

Rhys de Wilde

Please tell us about yourself and your research interests 
During my undergraduate degree, my focus was primarily on Middle Eastern and Turkish history and politics. As I have transitioned to my postgraduate studies, I have been focussed on political philosophy, the national security bureaucracy, and climate resilience. After interning at ASPI, I have had the opportunity to strengthen my knowledge about defence economics and naval capability.

During your time with ASPI, describe your experience in developing relationships and networking. 
My work and discussions with ASPI’s analysts and The Strategist team has been enriching and has allowed me to put my academic experience in a more professional setting. Developing relationships with ASPI’s foreign counterparts from the US, Sweden and Indonesia has been a rewarding part of my internship. ASPI provides many chances to also build relationships with people from the military, government departments and the private sector.

Describe the opportunities provided by ASPI and the skills and experiences you have gained throughout the internship. 
My largest piece of work was the ‘Cost of Defence’ budget brief for 2019, where I was able to contribute some analysis under the tutelage of Marcus Hellyer. In the writing of my publication ‘From board room to situation room’, I was able to travel to Sydney with senior analyst Anthony Bergin to interview Chief Security Officers about the security relationship between corporations and governments. I have also had the opportunity to contribute to the ‘North of 26’ project with John Coyne that focussed on environmental resilience and rare earth metals in Northern Australia.

What was the most memorable part of your internship at ASPI? 
A highlight of the internship was when Genevieve and I were involved with the Indonesia 1.5 Track Dialogue. During this dialogue, we were received at Government House by the Governor-General and were able to engage with respected members of the Indonesian diplomatic community. Another memorable part of my internship was my opportunity chair a panel on the Pacific with Graeme Dobell, Stephanie Copus-Campbell and Richard Herr.

If there was one thing you would say to a future ASPI Research Intern, what would it be? ASPI is a perfect way to start a career. There is a high level of trust extended by the analysts and the organisation to the interns which allows you to cultivate of independent and have the confidence to defend your ideas. ASPI also provides an opportunity to build skills in event management, networking and project management.

 

Mali Walker

Please tell us about yourself and your research interests
I graduated last year from a Bachelor of International Security Studies and a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the Australian National University. My research interests have actually been strongly shaped by my internship at ASPI. I am now extremely interested in disinformation and foreign interference, as well as the nexus between technology and human rights, particularly in East and Southeast Asia. 

During your time with ASPI, describe your experience in developing relationships and networking.
The internship has given me so many opportunities to build relationships with the diverse and amazing team at ASPI. I have learnt so much from researchers, analysts and head of programs from the International Cyber Policy Centre and the Defence and Strategy team. I have also learnt a lot through building relationships with the Events and Communications team and the Strategist team. I also gained a lot from my fellow interns!
The range of roundtables and public events also create lots of opportunities to meet people from diverse backgrounds in academia, government, NGO, industry and international guests.
 
Describe the opportunities provided by ASPI and the skills and experiences you have gained throughout the internship. 
I worked on a range of projects (including Mapping China’s Tech Giants, Hacking Democracies, Indo-Pacific election pulse and Mapping conditions in Rakhine state) that strengthened my research and analysis skills. I was also very lucky to go to Vanuatu as part of the E-Government in the Pacific project. The way I was treated as an equal member of the team improved my confidence and encouraged me to think boldly. We were also offered a range of training and development opportunities, including a full day of professional media training, leadership training and a lunchtime speaker series, which were all very valuable.

What was the most memorable part of your internship at ASPI?
In my last few months I spent time working on a project with Elise Thomas and Nathan Ruser from ICPC. We used open-source information and satellite imagery analysis to assess the readiness of current conditions in northern Rakhine state to recieve returning Rohingya refugees. We released the multimedia report in my final week and it got a lot of media attention, including in Myanmar. The chance to do important research on a topic I was very passionate about before starting my internship was amazing, and I learnt so much  from working with Elise and Nathan, under the amazing guidance of Danielle Cave. This was a really exciting note to end the internship on!
 
If there was one thing you would say to a future ASPI Research Intern, what would it be?
Take the chance to work on research projects that are way outside your original area of interest or knowledge. My research interests grew and shifted significantly throughout my internship because I took the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects outside of my comfort zone. I now have new skills and am very passionate about stuff I knew nothing about before I arrived. 


Luke Courtois

Please tell us about yourself and your research interests
I recently graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of International Security Studies, completing a double major in International Security/Thai language, and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. My research interests include Thai politics, middle-power relations, and great power competition.

During your time with ASPI, describe your experience in developing relationships and networking.
Interns regularly collaborate with one another to write weekly updates on national security and defence issues. There are also opportunities to co-author articles, work on important reports, and organise events. Interns are also able to attend roundtables with senior defence force personnel, government officials, and academics from around the world.

Describe the opportunities provided by ASPI and the skills and experiences you have gained throughout the internship.
As a research intern I’ve been able to work with the International Cyber Policy Centre on cyber-enabled foreign election interference, write various blog posts on Thai politics and risk & resilience. I’ve also had the opportunity to organise roundtables and attend several ASPI masterclasses.

What was the most memorable part of your internship at ASPI?
The most memorable part of my internship was being able to attend ASPI’s 1.5 Track Dialogue on the Quad in Sydney. Having the opportunity to hear our Japanese, US, and Indian counterparts talk about the future of the region was an enlightening experience.

If there was one thing you would say to a future ASPI Research Intern, what would it be?
ASPI research interns have the unique opportunity to pursue their own research interests. Make the most of it! Don’t hesitate to be ambitious. In six months, you would be amazed at what you can achieve.

Updated: 21 Aug 2019