Santiago Internship Spotlight: Jennifer Su

July 26, 2021

Jennifer Su is a rising freshman at Columbia University, where she will study Economics & Philosophy, while pursuing a dual degree at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, where she will major in Politics & Government with a concentration in Euro-American international relations. She is currently one of the sixteen students participating in the Santiago Virtual Internship Program during the northern hemisphere summer, working simultaneously in two internships: one with Universidad de Chile and one with the Santiago and Rio Centers as well as the Columbia Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS).

 “Through my internships, I have been able to pursue my curiosity about global affairs, to better understand how diplomatic cooperation, innovation, and collective action work jointly to resolve modern issues relating to conflict resolution, regional instability, and human rights. A mix of self-directed learning and guidance from seasoned professionals in the fields of journalism and academia, along with my experiences, have allowed me to contribute quality work to different organizations while diving deeply into my academic interests,” she states.

In her first internship, Su has been working with the Communications and Programs teams at the Global Centers and ILAS on a journalism project to connect the media and other strategic stakeholders with Columbia professors and experts. The media directory she has been assembling makes it easier for organizations to inquire about different areas of expertise and for faculty to inform the public about their research in fields such as immigration, education, international trade, politics, and environmental sustainability. 

Holding weekly video conferences and periodic progress updates via email with Esteban Andrade (ILAS), Leticia Katz (Rio), Carla Magri, and Chris Molinari (Santiago) have fostered a flexible and fruitful environment. The virtual nature of Su’s internship has streamlined the process of garnering useful feedback from a variety of schools and departments, while at the same time strengthening her communication, research, and data management skills.

She says that her experience as a project intern has been incredibly rewarding as it “Illuminates how different disciplines work together to solve contemporary issues and advance social development. How can film studies supplement second language acquisition? How can financial incentives promote environmental justice? How do modern political theories and philosophies align with or reject schools of thought from the past? Throughout this experience, I have seen how barriers are being broken down—linguistically, geographically, culturally, and academically,” she notes.  

In her second internship, Jennifer has been working on a book project for Latin American foreign policy at Universidad de Chile’s Institute of International Studies alongside Professors Dorotea López and María José Henríquez. To produce a literature review on the history and contemporary trends of diplomacy, she has been examining sources from government reports, peer-reviewed journals, think tanks, and press releases and synthesizing key findings. During her research, she has explored areas such as gender imbalances in foreign ministries, the impact of mass mobilization in international conferences, multinational economic cooperation, the globalization of social movements, and authoritarian influences on public policy.

“Getting a deeper understanding of a concept or area by identifying gaps, patterns, and inconsistencies in existing research—it’s certainly an enlightening experience,” she says. “And then being able to take a step back and link ideas together or even propose different ways of thinking about these ideas—that makes it even better.”

As a student who wants to further explore global research and projects, Su feels prepared for her future endeavors. She cites the guidance from her mentors as a strong reason for her continued interest in academia and international affairs, and looks forward to learning more about connecting people and ideas to solve international issues.