The Junior Fellow Experience

From left to right: Melody Ames, Robert Dunbar, Noelle Johnson, Claire Strohm, Sasha Shapiro

The Pacific Council’s Junior Fellowship program is a great opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain valuable experience behind the scenes of a non-profit foreign affairs organization. Learn more about what our Junior Fellows do here at the Pacific Council by reading interviews with and published articles by previous Junior Fellows here and here, impact statements from previous Junior Fellows below, and profiles of previous Junior Fellows below. Also check out a Facebook Live video presentation about water scarcity by our Fall 2017 Junior Fellows.

Impact statements from our Spring 2018 Junior Fellows

Melody Ames was a Trips Fellow in Spring 2018. She will graduate from UCLA in June 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Asian studies with a minor in Global studies. During her Fellowship Melody created bilingual deliverables for external publishing, managing content and graphic design. She additionally prepared programmatic materials and conducted travel research for upcoming international delegations to Mexico and Japan. For the Spring term project Melody produced an issue briefing on freedom of the press in Mexico and presented it to the staff at the Pacific Council. She also provided logistical support and networked with members at the Mayor Garcetti’s annual State of the Union address and the Global LA Summit. After the fellowship and post- graduation, Melody will be teaching abroad in Japan for 1-2 years with the JET program. She plans to return to the states to pursue her interest in international relations and with hopes to serve in Foreign Service.

Robert Dunbar worked in the Spring of 2018 supporting the Communications department. He graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California in May of 2017 with a Bachelors in Political Science, and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Public Diplomacy program at the University of Southern California, where he expects to graduate in May of 2019. As a Fellow, Robert wrote the Global Beat, a weekly round-up of important news stories around the world to help keep the Pacific Council community informed of key developments affecting policy across the globe. Additionally, he supported the Council’s social media engagement by drafting posts and tracking member engagement with the Council’s social media pages to ensure the Council can accurately inform its social media strategy going forward. Furthermore, he supported Communications Officer Justin Chapman during interviews with Pacific Council members. Robert attended many Pacific Council events, where he supported the Council’s twitter posts, continually engaged with Council members, and helped with set-up and take-down, all of which allowed Pacific Council staff to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. After each event, Robert drafted summaries of the main points covered by each speaker. For the Spring 2018 term project, he wrote a policy overview of water scarcity in Mexico City, and what the city is doing to mitigate these issues. After the Fellowship, Robert hopes to enter into the United States Foreign Service in either the Political or Public Diplomacy cone.

Noelle Johnson was a Membership Fellow in Spring 2018. She will graduate in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in English, concentrating on Rhetorical and Cultural Studies, as well as a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Noelle’s senior thesis centered on the application of discourse analysis to US counternarcotics legislature, thereby compounding her strong interests in both language and foreign policy. As a Fellow, Noelle put together elections materials alongside membership department staff for two nomination periods while also maintaining up-to-date and precise billing data for member dues. Noelle also researched and organized data regarding local non-profit organizations that presented possible volunteer opportunities for Pacific Council members. Due to her interest in security issues specifically in Latin America and South America, Noelle developed a white paper on current counternarcotics and security concerns in Mexico for the Spring 2018 term project. After the Fellowship, Noelle will graduate and then move to Brazil to intern in with a law firm in Sao Paulo. She aspires to a lifelong career in the military, with hopes of specializing in drug interdiction and maritime law.

Claire Strohm worked in the Development Department during the Spring of 2018.  She will graduate from Occidental College in May 2018 with a Bachelors in Diplomacy & World Affairs and Spanish. As a Junior Fellow, Claire worked on the Development department’s year-end analysis, a project used to compare contribution characteristics on year-to-year basis. Additionally, she contributed to donor prospecting and membership reports in an effort to grow the Pacific Council community. For the Spring 2018 term project, she developed a newsletter on the campaign platforms and impact of Mexico’s upcoming 2018 Presidential Elections. After the Fellowship, Claire will be working at EIS Solutions, a political consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado and hopes to one day work influencing international energy policy.

Sasha Shapiro was a Spring 2018 Fellow in the Events department. She will graduate with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and a minor in Geography. As part of her degree, Sasha will complete an honors research thesis that analyzes international law’s effectiveness in responding to conflict-related sexual violence. At the Pacific Council, Sasha performed topical research for the events staff, wrote focused briefs on various issues and current events, sourced event speakers, and attended multiple events, interfacing with members and providing event support. For the Spring term project Sasha completed a white paper on NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico trade relations. After the Fellowship Sasha plans to take a gap year to conduct research abroad before applying to law school where she plans to focus on international and comparative law. Sasha hopes to have a long career in international affairs working for the advancement of human rights.

Impact statements from our Fall 2017 Junior Fellows

Adriana Morales was a Membership Fellow in Fall 2017. At the time, she was a third year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Latin American studies and minoring in global studies. As a Fellow, Adriana helped build outreach lists to grow and diversify the Council community. In addition, she assisted in maintaining the integrity of new member data to ensure accurate information was communicated to the Board of Directors, meanwhile contributing to updates for the financial dues of Council members. In conjunction with department collaborations, Adriana served at Council events including Members Weekend and the Water Conference. For the Fall 2017 term project, she helped develop a white paper on water scarcity and the intersection of trade policy. After the Fellowship, Adriana intends to graduate from UCLA and then take a year off to travel with the intention of gaining a global perspective that will serve her in her future career. She hopes to pursue graduate school in international relations and someday work abroad at an embassy.

Ina Thigith was a Trips Fellow in Fall 2017. She will graduate from UCLA in June 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, concentrating in international relations. During her fellowship Ina assisted in the creation of materials for the Guantánamo Bay program in order to more effectively communicate information to the GTMO Task Force. Additionally, she conducted research and compiled documents for the trips to Brussels and The Hague and the 2018 trip to Japan. For the Fall 2017 term project she helped develop a briefing paper pertaining to the relationship between water scarcity and politics, with a particular focus on the disenfranchisement of communities in the Central Valley of California. After the Fellowship and following graduation, Ina plans on attending graduate school and using her interest in foreign relations to become a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department. 

Brindha Gopalakrishnan was a Development Fellow in Fall 2017. She is currently a senior at UCLA majoring in international development studies with a minor in global health. As a Fellow, Brindha helped with the donor cultivation project where she compiled and analyzed data to identify donors who have the potential to give the Pacific Council. Additionally, she assisted in prospecting for corporate memberships. For the Fall 2017 term project, she helped developed a white paper on water scarcity and its intersection with energy. After the Fellowship, Brindha aspires to work in the global health field for a few years and later attend graduate school.

Isabella Lloyd-Damnjanovic was a Communications Fellow in Fall 2017. She graduated from Princeton University in June 2017 with a bachelor's in sociology and a minor in philosophy. As a Fellow, Isabella wrote the weekly Global Beat news update to inform members about important current events. She also compiled media lists to broaden the Pacific Council's media network and helped write content for the Newsroom. For the Fall 2017 term project, Isabella helped write a white paper about the impact of water scarcity on global security. After the Fellowship, Isabella will work at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and hopes to attend graduate school in the near future for a degree in international policy and development. 

Malia Smith was an Events Fellow in Fall 2017. She graduated from UCLA in June 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in global studies. Her senior research at UCLA focused on the relationship between social media and populism in contemporary electoral politics, and her dual interests in politics and international affairs drove her to apply to the Pacific Council’s Junior Fellowship program. As a Fellow, Malia supported the events team through topical research and events concept development. Additionally, she identified potential event speakers and created contact lists to develop engaging, informative, and diverse dialogues. She worked as Project Owner for the Fall 2017 term project, which involved presenting the Pacific Council’s Global Water Scarcity Project and coordinating the development of white papers on water scarcity’s impact on security, trade, energy, and politics. After the Fellowship, Malia aims to continue work in bolstering California’s role in local and global policy conversations. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in international relations and hopes to someday serve in the Foreign Service.

Profiles of previous Junior Fellows

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