Hopes and Expecations for CGS Spring 2018

This semester I have been afforded the opportunity to intern at the Center for Global Studies, alongside my fellow interns Nay and Stacy. I took this opportunity to better learn the inner workings of an academic organization. Seeing how they organize, conduct outreach and work to provide academic funding for faculty and students alike. I also love to work with kids, and we’ll have a chance to do that with World Stories Alive! a language initiative on our part to expose local kids to foreign cultures and languages.

In my first month of working at the Center for Global Studies we learned the ropes, coordinating our schedules, setting up office hours and setting up general responsibilities for the coming semester. I was responsible for attending a lecture on state building, and the recent experience of a State department official in Iraq. I learned a lot about the state department in Iraq and our efforts to rebuild the country following the end of the war.

I hope this experience pushes me to learn things I would not have otherwise learned, and gives me worthwhile skills that I will be continue to use in future careers. I also hope to have conversations with people I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to talk to. At the most fundamental level, I hope to be exposed to foreign cultures, and learn about them in a fashion I otherwise would not have.

First Blog Post: Experience so far and Expectations

I am grateful to have been given this opportunity. The first month at the Center for Global Studies (CGS) has been pleasant. When it comes to work, there are two things that are most important: the work itself and the colleagues. Fortunately, at the CGS, work is interesting and so are the people.

A lot of planning went in for the upcoming events for the semester – a semester lasts four months- that are quickly approaching. The interns had a taste of the pace of the work and the communication that is essential for the success of the center’s work.

I had a chance to go to my first 2018 Spring Series event where I was introduced to an immigrant, writer, novelist Lisa Ko and her book The Leavers. The book explores the life of a Chinese illegal immigrant in the US and her separation with her son as she was captured by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He son was adopted by a wealthy Canadian couple and the book explores his search for his long-lost mother as well.

Besides the cool event, I have been given a chance to help organize our very own World Stories Alive (WSA) where we invite speakers of foreign languages to teach languages to kids as young as two to primary school students through songs and stories. We cordially invite you to our event.

So far, the work has not been hectic, but soon it should. I expect to be able to continue doing the things that I have been, but at a higher intensity in the coming months. I also expect to work on a curriculum development which I am excited about. I gave my shot at this internship because I was excited and interested and so far, the center hasn’t disappoint. It will be a good way for me to end my undergraduate career, working alongside my new friends at CGS.


First Month Experience and Expectations for CGS ’18


My first month experience at The Center for Global Studies was already very impactful for me personally and professionally. The environment at the office is really collaborative and has a lot of open space to ask questions and to be hard-working, which I really appreciate and respect. Being a freshman, it is a really cool thing for me to experience being in a professional setting with individuals who are very different from me because I can learn from their experiences and their expertise.

I had already attended a couple of events through CGS such as the SIA lecture given by James Piazzia on Terorism, an event with Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers, and an event co-sponsored with the CGS and the Career Enrichment Network on a workshop for Jobs and Internships in the Government during Liberal Arts Career Week. All of these events were very diverse and really informative for me on things that I can use academically, professionally, and personally.

I really enjoyed the Terrorism lecture because it gave me some insight into the professor who I might end up taking a class with next year. I enjoyed the event with Lisa Ko because it was in a different setting to talk about global issues in terms of having those hard discussions on immigration through fiction and personal stories. The workshop on Jobs and Internships in the Government is one that I am going to write about in the newsletter because they gave out so much professional information on how to apply for a job/internship on a database as difficult as USAJOBS, or how the timelines of applications and when to be thinking about certain opportunities and how to prepare for them while making the most of your time at Penn State. All of these different events already have me thinking in various different directions on how we can have global conversations on campus through different mediums.

Lisa Ko Speaking at Schlow Library on Jan 29th

As for my expectations for my time at the Center, I really don’t have many. I came to this experience with an open mind, so I don’t want expectations to affect my outlook or opinion on the work that I am going to be doing. Sarah really took to heart the goals that I shared with her during my interview and already gave me a small grant writing project that I am working on currently, which I really appreciate! I don’t want to have expectations because I want to develop myself through various different tasks that I hope to be doing, so I don’t want anything to deter me from that development.

Overall, I am really happy with my time at CGS already, and I am really excited for all of the upcoming projects!

Farewell to the CGS

This is not an easy goodbye and definitely will be bittersweet as I move on after this semester. The last five months have flown by and it seems like just yesterday I was meeting Sarah, Mary, and Emily for the first time. In that short time, though, so many memories have been made, friendships ignited, and lessons learned.

I would like to start with explaining all that I’ve learned through the ups and downs of this semester. Moving forward as a student and in my career, these lessons will forever be valuable, of which I will be forever grateful. Primarily, I learned how vital communication is to a professional work environment, and I don’t think I’ve ever checked my email as much or been as attentive to messages as I have been at the CGS. Many deadlines approached with a limited amount of time in the office, and if communication would have been strained, everything would have crumbled.

Apart from all of the information I learned from sitting in on CGS-sponsored events, I also learned how to professionally conduct myself in a personal and cyber manner. I learned how to formally introduce people through email and learned how to communicate with those that are equal to me such as my fellow intern Katie, but also to those who were way above me in schooling, education, and their career such as with Bassem Youssef, Dr. Jens-Uwe Guettel, or the many professors I crossed paths with.

Another aspect of my internship that has taught me a lot has been teaching at Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School, where I lead three after-school clubs on world cultures, comparative politics, and journalism. While I specifically learned how to manage a large group of kids in a classroom, I learned workplace incentive and punishment through working with these students. I have witnessed the immense power a treat or consequence has on one’s actions and I see myself using this same technique in a position of authority at a job in 

the future. Also, these kids taught me patience, which is crucial to any profession. It was rare to walk into the classroom and the students to already have pencils in hand, ready to go, so it was a learning curve to get them enthusiastic and ready to go every day. While some persisted to fight the system, I believe many of the students became engaged and excited to learn, something that is very rewarding to me.

I want to finish by thanking everyone at the CGS for their help over the semester, making it as low stress and easy as possible. Sarah and Mary helped so much with professional advice and pointers throughout the semester and both assisted me in many ways with my clubs at YSCP. Emily was enthusiastic everyday, helping with events, and making every minute around her joyful. Katie worked tremendously hard and picked up my slack whenever I was busy with clubs or school work. For that I am so thankful and appreciate how Katie was there for me throughout the semester.

I hope to stay in touch with everyone and that this is not a final goodbye. I will be on the look out for future events and cannot wait to see what the CGS has in store for the future.

In Retrospect

It’s hard to believe that this whirlwind semester is coming to an end. It seems as though just yesterday I was starting my junior year and was meeting the CGS team for the first time. I knew that it was going to be the busiest semester of my college career thus far. What I didn’t know, however, was how much I would come to enjoy the challenge. I truly have come to value the experiences of the last sixteen weeks, especially my work with the Center for Global Studies. Interning for CGS was no doubt an engaging and unique experience, largely because of the skills I expanded and the topics that I was exposed to.

As mentioned earlier, because of my majors, I have gotten the opportunity to study some very interesting global topics. However, it pales in comparison to the wide range of topics that I learned about at CGS.  From the Brown Bags, where I learned about Chinese Religious Citizenship or Photography in Senegal to the event about Fascism organized by Aaron and I—I found that I was constantly learning about thought-provoking issues that I wouldn’t have been able to study otherwise. This is perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of interning: always learning something new.

Another highlight was getting the opportunity to interview Dr. Sunetra Sen Narayan and Dr. Shalini Narayanan. I had never done a formal interview such as this one, and both women were incredibly sweet, making it a really great first experience. I also can’t leave out Bassem Youssef in this semester’s highlights, however, I wish timing would have allowed me to have attended more of his events!

The creation of a newsletter was also something I had never had the opportunity to do before. While it was often challenging to succinctly communicate details from information-packed events, I enjoyed the opportunity and freedom to write about aspects of each lecture or topic that I found most interesting. This semester, I also expanded skills that I do not often get to use. I enjoy designing promotional materials such as posters, and through working with Sarah, I definitely feel as though my design skills improved.

Thus, in retrospect, I have no doubt that I learned some really new and interesting things about topics I would have not originally expected to be exploring. The skills that I utilized and strengthened at CGS will no doubt play a role in future internships, schoolwork, and life as a whole.

I am sad that this is my only semester with CGS, as I will be abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands in the spring of 2018. During my time abroad, I have no doubt that I will continue to learn more about global issues and cultures. I would like to thank the CGS team for making this internship a very positive experience. I wish Sarah, Mary, Emily, and Aaron the best in all of their future endeavors, and hope that I will see them around campus and at future events!


An Eventful Few Weeks










I have always considered myself a planner. Whether it is planning to complete various assignments to making plans with friends, I like to stay organized. Therefore, when Sarah said that Aaron and I were going to have to plan an event for International Education Week, I was excited. At the same time, however, I found it daunting. Throughout my time at Penn State, I have assisted with the planning of various events and conferences with the clubs I am involved in. However, never before had I been given such open-ended instructions: Aaron and I could plan the event in whatever format and on whatever (global and timely) topic we wanted! While this was a little daunting, I knew that we would be able to put together a great event, and knew that Sarah, Mary, and Emily would be there to help us.

The fact that Aaron and I are both in the same History of Fascism and Nazism class made the topic selection easier, as we soon realized that we should involve our professor, Dr. Guettel. Thus, most of the planning went smoothly, and the next time I have to plan something similar, I do not think that I will feel so intimidated. However, one of the biggest lessons that I learned was that you cannot expect people to respond as quickly as you would like them to. Even though Aaron the reaching out to other potential panelists, it was still very frustrating to hear that people were not communicative or responsive in a timely manner. It made the process of finding speakers incredibly difficult. I think that this was definitely the biggest obstacle we had to overcome in the planning stages. However, the frustration paid off, and the panelists that we did have speak were all very informed, well spoken, and easy to work with.

Overall, when it came to the night of the event, I think that it went really well! I believe that the three speakers—Dr. Guettel, Mr. Reuning, and Mr. Morabito, all of whom spoke on different aspects of Fascism—gave the evening a unique edge. By including the history of fascism, as well as fascist and alt. right movements from an international politics and United States politics perspective, it was an engaging talk for individuals of all disciplines and interests. Additionally, not only was the content informative, the event was also well attended. The audience was engaged and participated in the discussion that followed the presentations. Therefore, I definitely believe that all of the hard work and planning for this event paid off.

-Katie Bartuska


“Echoes of 20th Century Fascism on Modern Politics and Culture” Synopsis

On October 24, my fellow intern Katie and I got to host our event “Echoes of 20th CenturyFascism on Modern Politics and Culture” after a long and arduous period of planning – it wasn’t easy!

Finding a venue and time was easy, thanks to the help of Sarah, Mary, and Emily, but finding speakers was the difficult part. I had to have sent out emails to at least 30 professors and graduate students before we finalized with Dr. Jens-Uwe Guettel, Doctoral Candidate Kevin Reuning, and graduate student Brad Morabito.

Despite the strenuous task of finding the speakers, I could not have asked for more knowledgable or engaged speakers than the three gentlemen that we had. It was evident that each was an expert in their field not only in their well-organized presentations, but in their responses to questions from the crowd after they presented.

On that note, the crowd honestly surprised me. We had over 20 participants, more than I wouldhave expected, and all of them were entertained, engaged, and interested in the discussion. I had some friends from my political science and history courses, and they all gave me encouraging words about the event since they knew that I had helped plan it. Them being there meant a lot for me because I know how busy their course schedules are, yet they made time to support me and learn about fascism – not necessarily the most fun of topics.

The CGS staff was also very commendable through it all and helped make it a huge success. Katie helped immensely with planning, organizing, and hosting with me, while Sarah, Emily, and Mary helped with the logistics and made it possible to pull of the event seamlessly. Their expertise in event hosting really showed.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience that taught me valuable communication skills, event planning, and communication among speakers, colleagues, and school faculty. Moving forward, due to the lessons learned from emailing professors, I will have to start planning events about two months out, at least!

– Aaron Morris



Here’s to a new journey

Not only will this upcoming semester and year at the CGS be a new experience for myself, dealing with a federally-funded program, but just a new experience in terms of my first internship. As a sophomore at Penn State I still have a lot of growing and figuring out to do despite already having steadfast goals and desires for my future. Part of that process involves various jobs and internships that I will be apart of over the course of my four years in undergraduate studies.

At first I considered an internship with my local senator or congressman, but after talking with classmates and friends that are interested in the same career field, I realized that the majority were taking that road, so like any millennial would do, I stopped, turned and went down the road less traveled by. I began my search for a rewarding experience that not only caters to my general interests in politics, social studies, geography, and world cultures, but one that challenges me in aspects that don’t just make me a coffee-delivering mule, which very well may have been the most important of my duties as a small fish in the ocean of Washington D.C.

These thoughts brought me to the CGS as I realized I would be working with professionals in an open and growth-oriented environment that would challenge me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated.

I am looking forward to working with the children of the local Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School in State College, PA where I am leading three after school clubs of World Cultures, Comparative Politics, and Journalism for various ages throughout K-8. In collaboration with Helena Khan, the Extended Day Club Coordinator at the school, we’ve been able to incorporate a world-oriented perspective into my clubs to broaden the horizons of knowledge in the children that I’m responsible for.

I also am eagerly anticipating interactions with speakers that the CGS is bringing to Penn State, including Bassem Youssef, a revolutionary comedian from Egypt that challenged the modern government with satire and comedy. I will have to read his book and perhaps have the opportunity to interview the man that was named to the Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People of 2013 list.

Furthermore, I will work with my colleagues to host other events and speakers to inform the Penn State community on the world around them, something that I find rewarding, especially in the United States. In our elementary schools, we are taught a very U.S.-centric world history and view that hinders us on the global stage moving forward. So, to be able to inform the same students that are taught world history from only the perspective of the United States about world cultures, politics, and events will be a very rewarding experience.

Along with my fellow intern Katie, I’m sure we will have a successful, rewarding, and fulfilling year at the CGS. Good times, good experiences, and a good journey is underway here at Penn State.

Looking Forward (and also looking back)

Looking forward at this coming semester, I find myself feeling a lot of different feelings. Thrilled, yet nervous, to be more than half way done with my college career. Worried that I will struggle balancing so many things all at once. But when I look forward at what is to come, more than anything I am excited. Excited to be taking really interesting classes in three subjects (International Politics, Economics, and History). Excited to contribute to clubs on campus that I love. And incredibly excited to have the experience to intern at a really great place–The Center for Global Studies.  

Before I entered college, I had no clue what I wanted to major in because I loved so many different areas within the Liberal Arts. Even now, two years later, I absolutely love what I am studying, but continue to remain interested in many other topics, such as geography, global health, and literature. This is one of the reasons why I am m looking forward to interning with the Center for Global Studies, because I am excited to be given the opportunity to learn about countless global topics. I am excited to be given the opportunity to plan and attend events, interview scholars, and therefore learn about areas that I am interested in that have not been able to study formally. For example, so far, I have written about a lecture by a prominent scholar on ISIS, Jihad, and Islamic Law, which fits perfectly into this category of topics I wish I had more time to study!  

No matter what I do in the year to come and following graduation, I know that the Center for Global Studies will have assisted in providing me with tangible skills that I will continuously be able to use. Everything from press releases to social media to creating posters and marketing events—no matter what my field I know that these skills will be incredibly helpful. I can’t wait to hone these skills, and countless more.

All in all, while this semester might be one of the most academically rigorous and busy semesters of my Penn State career thus far, I am excited for the skills and opportunities this internship will present me with. I am exceptionally grateful to have been given this opportunity and to be able to work and study what I love.

-Katie Bartuska

A semester with CGS

As I finish my last few days of spring semester, I have had time to reflect on the wonderful experience I have had interning at the Center for Global Studies. Before this internship, I had never had actual experience outside of the classroom working at a job relevant to my major. The Center for Global Studies gave me the opportunity to use my love for the study of international relations in multiple ways. Starting some of my Saturdays with World Stories Alive was such a joy. Seeing the children enthusiastic about learning new languages made me so happy and gave me confidence in the next generation and their ability to make positive changes in the world. I also loved the opportunity to interview Dr. Ilieva and help coordinate her visit to campus. Seeing all of that hard work culminate into a successful event was very special.

I would like to say thank you to Sarah, Mary and Emily for creating such a warm work environment. Thank you for challenging me as an intern but also for understanding the demands of being a student and all that comes with that role.  Thank you also to Rana and Tolu, It was a pleasure collaborating with you. Good luck to all the CGS Staff in whatever the future brings to them!

As I look ahead to my future, I see how the skills I acquired as an intern will help me in many ways. Fall semester I am studying abroad in Paris and London and am going to have another part-time internship while I am studying. Working for CGS has improved my time management skills and taught me how to better balance work, school and my social life. This internship has also improved my writing skills and taught me how to write in new forms, like press releases.


Thank you again to the Center for Global Studies and I will miss you all!