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Internship Profile: Henry Yuan '12, ACUS

Washington, D.C., Atlantic Council of the United States



Who did you intern with?
Atlantic Council of the United States  (ACUS)--- a Washington, D.C. think tank and public policy group whose mission is to promote constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century.

How did you find this internship?
I used the resources provided by the Department's internship program and Washington Center, I then applied this internship directly on the ACUS website. 

What were your major responsibilities and/or accomplishments as an intern? 
I was chosen to be in the Energy and Environment program at ACUS. My major responsibilities included conducting research on transatlantic cooperation and supporting the activities of the deputy directors; producing the daily energy and environment news brief; coordinating informal and discussion series and taking responsibility for recruiting speakers; managing program contacts and attending the Council roundtables, strategy sessions and congressional hearings. 

What is the most memorable part of your internship?
During my stay in ACUS, I co-organized and attended its annual awards dinner in DC. On that occasion, Vice President Joe Biden provided the Distinguished International Leadership keynote address to special guests and attendees. I also talked to the award candidate – Placido Domingo, whose music and humanitarian accomplishments have resonated around the globe. 

What sort of 'sales pitch' would you use to convince another student to pursue an internship? What advice would you give a prospective intern?  
(1) Doing an internship helps you build connections to peers and leaders who share the same mission and interest with you; (2) It helps you to 'define' yourself and choose the most suitable route before you start career planning; (3) Internships not only help you get first hand knowledge on issues, but also assist you in acquiring a work ethic, a positive attitude and a clear method of communication with your co-workers and boss. (4) Make sure to do well during an internship and to secure the position which will help you in maintaining a network with co-workers, which will be helpful for your future career. Advice: (1) Start early: search and prepare for the internship program as early as possible. Make sure to find one that is interesting to you and is the best fit to your major (don't wait until you are a senior to look for one-- you should have a good idea on career before your senior year); (2) Be proactive and be curious: do not stay back and do not hesitate to ask questions or share ideas with co-workers; (3) engagement: keep your eyes and ears open and don't be an 'outsider' ; (4) get feedback from your advisors in order to improve your performance and learning experience; (5) be sincere at your work. 

Please add any information you think would be useful for a student profile about your internship.  
During my junior year, I was fortunate to get an internship at the Appointment Office of Governor's Office of Schwarzenegger, and an internship with the Hudson Institute and Atlantic Council in DC. These three different internships changed my life a lot: they challenged my intelligence, my social skills and even my personality. My internship in the State government was my first step to apply my learned knowledge to American politics at both the state and federal levels. I witnessed and got involved in different campaigns, hearings, debates and even boycotts. In the beginning, I was not comfortable with the working environment around me because I was the only Asian student in the office. In order to become an active member in the group, I helped my director to transform our office into a 'paperless' office and organized several delegation visit to the Governor's Office. At the end, I was fortunate to get a letter of appreciation from the Governor's Chief of Staff.

Afterwards, my internship in the think tank strengthened my written and research skills and provided me the opportunity to meet well-respected professionals and policymakers. The experience is valuable to me because it helped my research and academic interests in political science, national security and public affairs. Although it is uncommon to do several internship before becoming a senior student in university, it is worth it to try different experiences in order to find out what is the best fit for you.

I would say that knowledge is a treasure, but being sincere at your work is the key to it.

The UMass Internship Program opened the door for me to explore an adventurous and competitive real world. 


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