Interning Across Sectors: A Women In International Security (WIIS) Member Engagement Event

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Interning Across Sectors

A Women In International Security (WIIS) Member Engagement Event

July 28, 2021  |  1-2 pm (EDT)


Join WIIS Global on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 to hear from panelists on securing and handling internships across sectors. Reflecting on their own experiences, panelists will discuss the merits and challenges of interning and securing entry-level positions in various sectors, such as within the State Department, think tanks, and the private sector. We will also discuss the skills, experiences, and strategies beneficial for breaking into new sectors.


Our panelists include: 

Annie Pforzheimer: A retired career diplomat from the U.S. Department of State, Annie is a Senior Non-Resident Associate at CSIS, a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a public commentator on foreign policy.  She also is active in political advocacy and non-profit boards.  Her thirty-year diplomatic career focused on security, rule of law, and human rights policy, and included working in the National Security Council on Central American migration.  She was the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Afghanistan and Deputy Chief of Mission in Kabul, one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world, Director of the $700 million security assistance program in Mexico, and the lead human rights officer in Turkey and South Africa.  Ms. Pforzheimer received the State Department’s 2001 recognition for human rights reporting, as well as numerous Honor Awards.  She is a graduate of Harvard University and the National Defense University and speaks Spanish.

Dr. Wendin D. Smith: Wendin D. Smith, PhD, currently serves as a Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting, LLP. Her professional background is in Russian and security studies, focused on countering weapons of mass destruction and environmental security. Prior to transitioning to Deloitte, she had the honor of serving as the Senior Advisor to the Commanding General of the U.S. Special Operations Command, supporting the Command in its capacity as the DoD’s Coordinating Authority for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD).  Previously, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for CWMD, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (DASD/CWMD). Across her career, she has led strategic initiatives in defense and national security at various smaller and larger firms, as well as inside and outside of government. On the entrepreneurial side, she has founded and operated two woman-owned consultancies, and has served overseas in various capacities in Moscow, Russia. Fluent in Russian and conversational in German, she is also proud to serve on various Boards, and – pending the season – is a competitive rower and nordic skier (xc, “skate” skiing).  She enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors, usually with her active, nature-loving 5-year-old daughter.

Jessica P. Powers: Ms. Powers is the Principal Director for China in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).  Prior to assuming her current position, she was the Deputy Director for the Defeat-ISIS Task Force.  In 2015, she was competitively selected for the inaugural cohort of the White House Leadership Development Fellows Program in which she worked on Federal enterprise-wide personnel reforms.  Previous assignments in DoD have included directing international, commercial, and Congressional engagements on outer space policy; managing the $2.5B budget and financial operations for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; overseeing bilateral defense relations with Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Island nations, and mainland Southeast Asia; and coordinating defense plans and programs in the former Soviet Union and the Balkans.  Before joining the Department of Defense, Ms. Powers was the Managing Editor for the Environmental Change and Security Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  In addition to her experience in the Federal government, she has worked in the private sector, recruiting and directing job applicants at AmeriCorp.  Ms. Powers is a distinguished graduate from the National War College, earning an M.S. in National Security Studies.  She also has an M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and a B.A. in International Studies from American University.