Virtual Internship Stories: Melissa Toman

Melissa Toman (SIPA'22)
February 01, 2022

Hi! My name is Melissa Toman and I am a second-year graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where I am pursuing a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in International Security Policy and a specialization in International Conflict Resolution. I had the opportunity to intern with Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul during the Fall 2021 semester, where I assisted the team with generating social media content, creating timestamps for recorded webinars, reviewing their website, and writing articles about the events that CGC | Istanbul held and participated in.

My experience with the team was wonderful. Despite the eight-hour time difference, Eylem, Seden, and I were able to meet weekly via Zoom to get to know each other and discuss the tasks for that week. I was able to challenge myself through generating social media content, which I had never done before, while also advancing my writing skills through the process of reviewing and generating content.

My favorite part of the internship was listening to the fascinating webinars and discussions that CGC | Istanbul had held and participated in throughout 2021. Some of the topics included the launch of the REACH4Health App, which was created to address health literacy issues within refugee, migrant, and local youth communities in Turkey; Turkey’s experience addressing issues that arose during COVID-19 pandemic, such as the needs of refugees and migrants, emergency urbanism and preventive infrastructure, and the re-shaping the urban landscape; and the recent events that took place in Afghanistan during Summer 2021 and how regional and global alliances will likely shift in regards the new regime. Despite the ongoing pandemic, I was fortunate enough to attend one event in-person at Columbia’s NYC campus and meet some of the familiar faces I had seen through the recorded webinars.

I am very grateful for my time working with CGC | Istanbul and would like to thank the team, especially my supervisors Eylem and Seden, for their guidance, kindness, and for introducing me to a wide range of topics that I may have never come across without this opportunity. I encourage everyone at Columbia to consider interning with one of the nine Columbia Global Centers, as it is a truly enriching experience.