A passion for law drew Michigan State University undergraduate Annie Hamaty to the James Madison College. Studying both Social Relations and Policy and Comparative Cultures and Politics, Hamaty has learned how different policies impact domestic and international communities, which was aided even further by her minor in Asian Pacific American Studies. As a rising third-year student, Hamaty’s education has shifted her path from legal studies to one focused on international relations and global policy.
This change prompted Hamaty to seek out internship opportunities focused on international engagement. Hamaty came across an internship opportunity with the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations while searching on a job board. Having little knowledge of the division before submitting her application, Hamaty attributes finding this opportunity to a bit of luck and her extensive research process.
After learning more about the office through online resources, Hamaty submitted her cover letter and resume, underwent an interview and was offered a position as a global projects intern.
Since beginning her role in January, she has identified many benefits to working with an internationally recognized organization. Having virtual access to the Smithsonian’s many exhibitions and collections, Hamaty has been able to learn about a variety of topics. Her internship has also afforded her access to a large network of global and domestic professionals, including those working in foreign embassies.
Hamaty has been entrusted with a variety of responsibilities to aid in the office’s goal of strengthening the Smithsonian’s international connections. Her most recent project supported the organization’s Earth Optimism Summit. For the recent series highlighting Indonesian educators, Hamaty helped plan and organize speakers, created internal documents for speakers and staff and crafted marketing materials.
Continuing to support this summit, her next project will allow her to liaise with the U.S. Embassy in France on climate change. More generally, her duties include writing, speaking, researching in databases and providing versatile support for her supervisor.
Navigating this new environment virtually has presented communication challenges that Hamaty has used as a learning opportunity. “I have learned when to speak up and when to step back,” she said. In collaboration with her supervisors and fellow intern, Hamaty has grown more confident in sharing her ideas and knowing when to allow her peer to do the same. Additionally, her work has bolstered her organizational and technical skills, exposing her to platforms like Dropbox.
Hamaty credits aspects of her academic and social life at MSU in preparing her for her internship. Having grown up in a small town in Michigan, she appreciates the diversity of the MSU community, especially in allowing her to connect to groups like MSU’s Asian Pacific American Student Organization (APASO). Her enhanced ability to think in a global and multicultural mindset has been vital to her work in the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations.
Further, Hamaty’s involvement with the professional fraternity, Kappa Omega Alpha, has allowed her to expand her peer network and further identity her professional passions. Centered on pre-law and public policy, she has learned from her peers’ diverse professional and academic experiences, helping her shape her own career path and identify new passions and resources. Activities, such as guest speakers and policy simulations, have afforded her valuable connections and knowledge.
Hamaty would advise other students to take a chance in their professional lives and combat imposter syndrome. “The worst thing, they [hiring teams] can say is no,” she said. She also suggests students read about a variety of fields within their area of interest, using platforms like Youtube and LinkedIn.
Upon graduation, Hamaty hopes to continue her work in international relations by attending graduate school.