Clements Center
Clements Center

Clements summer policy intern
Ashley Nelle-Davis in Washington, D.C.

Aug 26, 2014

When I first arrived at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), I was told that the office expected its interns to take initiative regarding research interests and availability. With such a foundation set, I wasted no time in offering to help where needed.

As a research assistant at the CEPA, I have worked on developing political-historical outlines, the creation of CEPA’s analytical methodological system, recording and analyzing aid data flows, energy security issues, peer reviews, and ensuring my availability for any new research needs that the fellows might have.

Extending that initiative outside of the office, I started Polish classes at the Kosciuszko Foundation. Not being able to dedicate as much time as I should have outside of work and class, I greatly benefited from the generosity of my Polish co-worker, who helped me during personal tutorial times throughout the week. These tutorials and the class have helped prepare me for my formal classes in the fall at UT.

The greatest challenge that I faced this summer was in resolving my low levels of regionally-based knowledge, which becomes necessary for high level analysis. In addition to reading relevant books, articles, and news stories, I was able to attend events at other think tanks. To be sure, there was no shortage of events on Central and Eastern Europe in DC this summer.

Though the summer is coming to a close and the pace of work reflects the slow wind-down, my favorite part of my time here at CEPA were the moments when one of the fellows would ask me to their office – and to bring a notepad. This usually meant that I was about to get a time sensitive assignment on a new topic – fact checking, compiling weapon platform specs, outline of Donald Tusk’s energy union, or the status of defense spending in the region. 

Another aspect of my internship that I enjoyed and benefited from were the events that we hosted. In the course of the summer, we hosted the former Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, special discussions on shale extraction practices, Romanian governance, and informal breakfasts with experts like Edward Lucas and Marcin Zaborowski. Not only were these events more intimate than your typical think tank event, I was able to see the threads of the political tapestry as it was woven. 

I will leave my internship at CEPA with the respect of my co-workers, an ever-growing base of knowledge on Central and Eastern Europe, and with excitement to see where my future will take me. 

Click here to learn more about the summer policy internship program