Intern Connects Denver to the World
By Colin Babikian, Editorial Assistant
Faced with the ongoing pandemic, soaring travel costs and an understanding of the benefits of cross-cultural exchange, Annie Edwards decided to spend the summer of 2021 close to home helping people gain valuable experience in Denver. Edwards, a second year M.A. student in the International Studies program interned with World Denver where she connected high school students and young business professionals with local Denver organizations in a mentorship program.
World Denver, according to their headline, “promotes a greater understanding of world affairs and cultures throughout the Denver Metro area.” Edwards’ experiences as an undergraduate studying abroad in Japan and later teaching English in Korea fueled her desire to help provide similar opportunities for others. Because “everyone [at the non-profit] wears 80 different hats,” according to Edwards, Edwards dipped her in a plethora of projects, though most of the work entailed running programs and writing proposals to win bids and funding. Though the pandemic limited the mentorship programs to virtual interactions, Edwards primarily matched youth in Canada, Korea and Uzbekistan to Denver businesses. The Denver businesses mentored the youth, providing advice about industry practices.
Edwards credits her success in the internship with her time spent at the Korbel School, as her first year honed her writing and communication skills. Classes conducted on Zoom familiarized Edwards with the platform and how to handle projects remotely. Feedback from professors helped strengthen her writing that would be used to obtain grants throughout the internship. Edwards found her class on conflict resolution particularly valuable as it taught important tools for navigating a work environment. “It is really great for just work in general, as there is always stuff in a work environment where you want to be sure that you are resolving things…. [the class] is very applicable to everything” Edwards said. While the class focuses less on international relations, it may have the largest impact as she progresses through her career.
Proving that one can remain local and still positively impact the world was important for Edwards during her internship search. World Denver’s emphasis on recruiting a diverse talent pool was especially appealing. “We focused really hard…on representation being really important. We wanted to see a lot of women, for example, and we were very careful about not looking at scores only, but who we wanted to give this opportunity to” Edwards remarked. Remembering the scholarships that allowed her to travel prior to Korbel, she appreciated the opportunity to return the favor.
As Edwards progresses through her second year at Korbel, she hopes to continue helping students achieve their goals; however, her way forward may shift away from her previous experience. Whereas she previously looked outside of the US for teaching opportunities, she will start looking to teach at community colleges here in the United States.