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Entering the Embassy

December 17, 2015

 

One Tech student spends three months working in the US Embassy in Moscow.

 

REBEKAH BARNES 

Sanford visited many sites in Moscow during her 3 month internship. Counter-clockwise from top: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Square–Photo submitted by Tiffany Easter

Sanford visited many sites in Moscow during her 3 month internship. Counter-clockwise from top: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Square–Photo submitted by Tiffany Easter

 

Staff Reporter| reb033@latech.edu

 

When Tiffany Easter was met with a prestigious internship opportunity, the College of Liberal Arts staff worked with her to make sure she could pursue it.

 

Easter, a junior political science major, spent 12 weeks from August to November working in the Executive Office of the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia.

 

“I would not have been given this opportunity without Dr. Amanda Sanford, Dr. Jason Pigg and Dr. Rick Simmons,” Easter said. “If I hadn’t been able to get school credit for it, I still would have gone, but the amount of support that the political science department and the honors department gave me really made this possible.”

 

Easter said she got to experience Moscow’s City Day Celebration, where they celebrated 868 years as a city with a free Aerosmith concert outside the Kremlin and Red Square.

 

While she said enjoyed experiencing a new culture, she said her favorite aspect of the internship was the work.

 

Sanford visited many sites in Moscow during her 3 month internship. Counter-clockwise from top: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Square–Photo submitted by Tiffany Easter

Sanford visited many sites in Moscow during her 3 month internship. Counter-clockwise from top: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Square–Photo submitted by Tiffany Easter

“As an intern I was blown away with the substantive tasks they gave us,” she said. “I would be given a task at noon and they would say, ‘This has to be in D.C. by 5, get it done.’ We had to be able to make decisions, and our bosses didn’t have time to hold our hands. Being able to make a decision and stick by it, knowing it was based on good judgment, was something I learned that sticks out to me.”

 

Working with Ambassador John Tefft’s assistant, Easter put together a book of world events each morning on which the ambassador would be briefed.

 

“When ISIS took down the Russian plane over Egypt, I was in Moscow,” Easter said. “Any time something happened in Syria, especially in regard to Russia, we looked into that and Putin’s mindset behind what kind of action he was going to take next.”

 

She said she saw firsthand how political decisions are never simple, and she got to see the international politics she has studied in class in action.

 

“It’s an incredible experience to do an internship because you finally get to take everything you learn in class and put it into practice in real life,” she said. “I feel like that life experience has changed how I’ll look at classes from now on.”

 

She said the relationships she has now with her fellow interns are even better than the chances she had to network, and she likes knowing that she has friends in Moscow.

Sanford visited many sites in Moscow during her 3 month internship. Counter-clockwise from top: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Square–Photo submitted by Tiffany Easter

Sanford visited many sites in Moscow during her 3 month internship. Counter-clockwise from top: St. Basil’s Cathedral, the U.S. Embassy, and the Red Square–Photo submitted by Tiffany Easter

 

“Don’t be afraid to take an opportunity,” she said. “I missed a lot of things that happened here at Tech during fall quarter. You miss football season, you miss Homecoming, but don’t pass up a good opportunity because you’re afraid. Going to Moscow for three months by myself is not the most comforting decision I’ve ever made, but we’re not given opportunities to be afraid of them. We’re given opportunities to take advantage of them.”

 

Easter first heard of the inernship when Amanda Sanford sent out an email to her students about the internship opportunity, and Easter completed an independent study with Sanford in order to get course credit.

 

Sanford, an assistant professor of political science, teaches international relations and comparative politics.

 

“Tiffany is a very dedicated student,” Sanford said. “She’s very strong, very bright, very confident.”

 

In order to ensure Easter could take the internship and receive enough credit, Sanford said Donald Kaczvinsky, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and the political science and honors departments wanted to do everything they could to make sure Easter was not disadvantaged.

 

“When something like this comes along we want to do everything we can for them,” Sanford said. “I’ve had a lot of students in seven years who have gotten internships, but nothing has ever been this prestigious.”

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