|Lehigh University > United Nations Partnerships > Lehigh Student Interns at United Nations > Rachel Spritzer
May - Aug 2011 Intern
Rachel is a Global Studies and Religion Studies senior with minors in Health, Medicine and Society and Art History. She is very involved on campus, as the Vice President of the Millennium Development Goals Initiative (MDGI), the Social Media Chair for the Altitude Leadership Conference, and the Technology Chair for Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. She is also an Entrepreneurial Delegate for the LU / UN partnership and is a member of the LU/UN Twitter project.
She served as an Intern for the Group Programmes and Public Inquiries Units at the Visitors’ Centre at UN Headquarters in New York City from May to August 2011
Scroll below to see pictures and Rachel's own words about her experience at the UN!
LIFE AS AN INTERN
August 2, 2011
So far my internship at the United Nations has been very busy, yet very exciting. I am stationed at the Visitors’ Centre at UN Headquarters in New York City. I am specifically working for Group Programmes and Public Inquiries, which are part the UN Department of Information (DPI). The office is like the public face of the UN; it distributes information about the UN, responds to the public’s letters, emails and phone calls, organizes briefings and lectures for groups upon request, runs UN4U, and coordinates group tours. My responsibilities involve all but the latter.
I help maintain the Facebook page of the United Nations Visitors’ Centre (http://www.facebook.com/UNVisitorsCentre). I monitor the Page and post daily about various happenings around and involving the UN. When something requires a longer explanation, I publish a note. I also take and upload photographs of proceedings and exhibits at Headquarters. This has given my internship a bit of a journalistic aspect as I report the latest UN news or write about events I personally witness.
UN4U has been one of my main projects this summer. UN4U is a major program that the office organizes. October 24 is the birthday of the UN and around this time, the UN runs this outreach program for New York schools. I have been very busy doing the research for the presentation; writing the notes for speakers, outlines and talking points. I have also been creating the PowerPoint presentation that will be used for the program.
I cannot imagine a more stimulating place to be interning than right in the heart of UN Headquarters. Not only do I run into some very interesting people (more about that later), but major world decisions are made around me every day and I often am lucky enough to witness these historical events firsthand.
With the Olympic countdown clock
In the Security Council
Why did you want to work at the UN?
I wanted to work at the heart of world events and understand the dynamics behind them. Interning at the UN had potential to expose me to real-life situations to which I could apply the knowledge I had gained from global studies. I knew that I wanted to work in a field involving international affairs and hoped that the internship would help direct my future career path, which it has.
What has the experience been like so far?
My UN experience was better than I ever could have imagined. (This is saying a lot because I was very excited about the internship from the moment I heard about it.) Every day I learned something new and witnessed major world affairs and decisions. My job kept me very busy coordinating briefings and speakers, maintaining the United Nations Visitors’ Centre’s Facebook page and creating a presentation for New York City Public Schools called UN4U, among other logistical tasks of the office. I also attended and wrote about various UN meetings and events.
What has been the most surprising thing about working at the UN?
I was very surprised by the amount of access I had to both people and events at the UN. Not infrequently I would see Secretary General Ban Ki-moon around the UN. I even had the opportunity to meet him following his reelection as Secretary General. I also attended meetings of the General Assembly and the Security Council and was present at UN press conferences, briefings and panel discussions. The people at these events were leaders of their countries or of their various fields, yet were extremely approachable. There was a sense that if you were in the room, you must be qualified to be there. I was not expecting this and so was taken aback the first time I was in one of these settings and an ambassador introduced himself to me when he was networking after a meeting.
What has been the most exciting thing about working at the UN??
There were several events over the summer that I never would have dreamed of having access to prior to my internship. I attended and reported on the birth of a new state (the Republic of South Sudan), the reelection of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the election of next President of the General Assembly. I even had the opportunity to meet Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis at the ceremony to start the 2012 Olympic countdown clock,
What do you plan on doing after this internship, and how will your UN experience affect that?
The skills that I acquired as an intern at the UN will be invaluable for all of my future undertakings. I plan on using the knowledge I gained throughout the summer to enhance the academic and extracurricular endeavors of my senior year. The experience will also be immensely beneficial in my quest to develop an internationally oriented career.
For more information about the LU/UN Partnership, contact Dr. Bill Hunter at email@example.com.