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Emma Dries | 2021 Summer Fellow

Emma DriesEntry 2: A Great Ending
July 2nd, 2021

After 6 weeks with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have come to my final day of the internship program.  While I thought I had a grasp of the inner-workings of Congress, this internship taught me the specifics of daily life in a Senate committee and all its moving parts.

Throughout my time with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I had the opportunity to attend business meetings, briefings, and meet colleagues from all walks of life.  While I came into the internship open to projects beyond the Western Hemisphere region, my interest in WHA affairs only increased throughout my six weeks with the committee.  Being a Spanish minor and Public Policy major during my time at Duke, I had some background in US-Latin American relations.  This internship truly reaffirmed my interest in the region.

As an intern for the Western Hemisphere, Narcotics & International Law team, I had the ability to learn about a range of topics.  Every morning, I was tasked with organizing press clips for the team.  This responsibility ensured I was up to date on some of the most pressing current events in the region and that my team had easier access to additional news.

In Dr. Feaver’s Introduction to International Relations, Peace, Security, & Conflict class, we were given news quizzes at the end of every week.  This class introduced me to the importance of staying tuned-in to current events, and it helped me narrow down my daily morning news search throughout the course of the internship.

I am beyond grateful for the experience and relationships the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s internship formed.  I am looking forward to beginning the first year of my MPP through Sanford’s 4+1 Accelerated Master’s program in the fall!

Week 1, Entry 1: Introductions
May 28th, 2021

I began my remote internship for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, and it has been nothing but incredible.  This is my third remote internship since COVID-19’s onset, and virtual meetings & phone calls have finally become second nature.  Last summer, I worked as a research fellow for the DukeEngage Paraguay program.  While our team was scheduled to arrive in Asunción, Paraguay in May to research the 2023 ITAIPU Treaty, COVID changed our path (and many other aspects of life).

After receiving confirmation that we could continue our research remotely, we transitioned our project to focus on Paraguay’s post-pandemic recovery.  I worked to create a policy proposal on contact tracing, and the role of digital contact tracing apps in slowing the pandemic’s spread.  After spending the summer researching COVID-19’s effect on the OAS region and hyper focusing on Paraguay’s response to the virus, my interest in United States-Latin American relations was re-affirmed.  The project, while unprecedented, gave me a greater understanding of regional relationships in South America.  Our work also informed my interest in pursuing both a future internship and career in government.

I plan on using my prior remote experiences to inform my current position as an intern for the Western Hemisphere, Narcotics & International Law Team.   This week I was able to meet my fellow interns and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff.  I had the opportunity learn about both my responsibilities for the summer as well as what a typical day in the SFRC looked like.  While I am not based in D.C. this summer, I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to learn from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s staff.

*Disclaimer: Due to the nature of my internship, I will only be writing 1 additional post reflecting on my summer experience.  Stay tuned!