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How my World Trade Center Internship Prepared me for an International Career

Claire Beech graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas in the Fall of 2017 with a B.S. in international business and economics with an additional major in German. She served as the World Trade Center Arkansas Trade Support Assistant from January 2015 to June 2016 and is currently attending Aston University in Birmingham, England and completing an M.A. in Governance and International Policy.

How my World Trade Center internship

prepared me for an international career

by Claire Beach

Since my time at the World Trade Center in 2016, I have been constantly on the move. I spent the summer of 2017 in Germany, participating in an intensive language program through the University of Kansas and passed the B1 language exam. In conjunction with my language program, I received an Honors College Research Grant to study the tourism economy in the Middle Rhine region. I finished my time at the University of Arkansas in the Fall of 2017, graduating Cum Laude with a BS in International Business and with an additional major in German.

Over the winter, my dad helped a friend and I convert a minivan into a camper. We travelled around the US for the first half of 2018, driving 40,000 miles, seeing 47 states, and visiting over 200 national monuments and parks.

In September I moved to the UK, where I am currently attending Aston University and completing an MA in Governance and International Policy. I will finish in September this year, after which I will move to Germany. I will complete a second MA at the University of Bamber, in Political Science in International and European Politics.

Personally, the greatest benefit of being a WTC intern was getting connected with women’s issues. I joined OWIT my freshman year of college, before I even thought about being an intern for the WTC. It was Kelsey Lippard (née Lovell), the WTC intern that year, who encouraged me to apply for the position. I strongly admire the support that the WTC gave to events like the Power of the Purse, and organizations such as OWIT, and the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. Working closely with Laura James, Denise Simpson, and Denise Thomas and alongside fellow interns like Hannah Pinter and Bruna Romero inspired me to continually reach for the next opportunity.

Without their encouragement I would never have successfully run for Director of Membership in the Arkansas OWIT chapter. OWIT also gave me the opportunity to engage with future mentors at the UofA, like Dr. Adriana Rossiter Hofer. I met Dr. Rossiter Hofer at an OWIT event and have since worked in her department, the Global Engagement Office at the UofA under the supervision of Susan Anders. Because of the WTC and OWIT, I am still connected to the UofA and the Walton College.  Additionally, I have kept my membership in the OWIT Virtual Chapter, for members who are spread around the globe.

Secondly, I believe that my time at the WTC helped me build a strong foundational knowledge of international trade. The joint events hosted with the UofA and Walton College brought in several distinguished speakers. Attending the lectures gave me new perspectives on current topics of the time, such as TPP and TTP. This was augmented by participating in the FITT program, building a unique knowledge of international trade that I couldn’t have accessed any other way. On a more local level, working with the Arkansas businesses interested in exporting gave me a good overview of the state business scene. It opened my mind to future opportunities at the AEDC and similar organizations.

I can also attribute my pursuit of a grant writing certificate program through NWACC to my time at the WTC. Helping with the STEP Grant exporting program sparked my interest in grant writing and has helped me in numerous ways. The skills I learned in the grant writing courses have been helpful in completing my graduate school and scholarship applications to Aston and Bamberg. The WTC sparked in me a desire to constantly learn and grow.

The people I met during my time as an intern have remained fixtures in my life, as mentors, colleagues, and friends.