Santiago Internship Stories: A Biochemist Stepping out of her Comfort Zone

August 07, 2020

Columbia College sophomore Arooba Ahmed is working two internships with Chile’s Universidad Católica: one with the Center for International Studies (CEIUC), and the other with the Undergraduate Internationalization Program.

At CEIUC, Ahmed is working with the director, Jorge Sahd, studying geopolitical trends, including foreign policy dissent in electoral campaigns, economic de-globalization, and US-China relations. . In the other program, she is working with Maribel Flórez, director of Global Learning, performing a literature review on research surrounding barriers and enablers to academic mobility in higher education between Asia and Latin America.

As she explores academia beyond her usual setting at Columbia, Ahmed has been developing investigative and critical thinking skills by conducting research and analysis of the academic literature and presenting her results. Initially, she had not considered internships in international studies. As an aspiring biochemist, these internships seemed like an odd way to advance her career. However, having done this work, she says, “I enjoy these topics just as much as traditional STEM, and I am 100% sure that I will be able to apply the skills I learned.”

Ahmed is a Rabi Scholar, studying Biochemistry and Psychology. She is an undergraduate researcher at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), studying inter-strand crosslink repair, and she also serves as secretary of the Columbia Science Review, a writer for “Consilience: Journal of Sustainable Development,” and marketing director of the Organization of Pakistani Students (Columbia OPS). In her free time, she loves sketching, painting, and reading.