Editor’s Note: Every semester, BTC presents awards to students who have exceeded program expectations. For the Spring 2013 semester, Kevin Lalama was awarded the Internship Excellence award for his work with the American Security Project, highlighted below.
By Kevin Lalama, BTC Student
As part of my Beyond the Classroom (BTC) experience, and to fulfill my UNIV326 requirement, I am currently interning at the American Security Project (ASP) in Washington, DC. Had it not been for BTC, I would have never applied to a nonprofit organization, I would have never found ASP, and most certainly would never have had the experiences from this semester. My time in UNIV325 last year prepared me for the internship search, interviews, and overall success in the nonprofit sector. I was introduced to new references for internship listings and learned how to improve my resume and cover letter, all of which I now incorporate into my professional portfolio. This semester, UNIV326 has further increased my professionalism by encouraging informational interviews and perfecting a LinkedIn account. The course is centered on applying the skills and knowledge of civic engagement leadership skills first introduced in UNIV325. Together, the two classes have developed my academic and professional skills.
According to the ASP website, “The American Security Project is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.” ASP is committed to securing nuclear weapons, preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons or materials, and reducing the global nuclear stockpile.A majority of my time at ASP has been under the Nuclear Security division.
My Internship Experience
During my time at the University of Maryland, I have interned with local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as private organizations. I am grateful to have had the opportunities I did, but ASP is a whole new experience. Being a part of such a small team of professionals gives a better sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. At ASP I am not just an intern; in fact, my title is “Policy Researcher and Intern.” ASP encourages each intern to make a name for him or herself, in other words, build a “brand.” Over the past few months I did just that. I helped produced a blog, entitled “The Modern Day Trojan Horse,” as well as an ASP Fact Sheet. The authors’ names sit proudly at the top, not just generalized under intern or ASP itself. The nuclear security research I gathered over the semester is pertinent to progressing our national security effort. My internship matters.
Beyond the Classroom encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and intern where I never would have even applied. I look forward to applying the skills and information I learned from ASP and BTC to future positions and building upon my professional portfolio.
Edited by Dr. Caitlin Haugen, Adjunct Instructor, Beyond the Classroom