My goal at the beginning of my internship was to write a policy paper related to some sort of policy in the field of international development — this has changed somewhat. For one thing, I’ve come to a much greater level of appreciation for the necessary amount of thought and care needed to write a policy paper that is based rigorously in fact. For another, I’ve learned that a lot of the skills and experiences that I hoped to get by writing my own paper can actually be acquired by helping with an expert’s own research. Data analysis skills, the ability to find, read and synthesize academic literature, and general research intuition can all be acquired without seeing a project all the way through. Therefore, I’ve adjusted my goal to simply making measurable progress in my supervisors’ larger research projects.
In terms of my performance, I think I’ve done a great job producing good work, working and learning new skills independently, keeping my supervisors up to date with my progress, and taking the initiative. However, I’ve often struggled to get enough face time with my supervisor to get advice on my career and research interests. Getting a broader understanding of what to take away when I leave this internship is a big goal for me moving forward.