A Special Thank You To Our Summer Interns


From left to right: Will Lerch, Charlotte Goodenow, Saachi Makkar, Namita Paul, Udunopa Abalu, Porscha Winston


As the summer winds down, it’s time to say goodbye to our summer interns. We enjoyed having them in our headquarters office in Washington, D.C. and we appreciate all their hard work and enthusiasm. Our interns make vital contributions to the organization.

This summer we had six interns, who worked on our Afghanistan, Liberia, and Tunisia programs, as well as in our new business, financial services, trade and enterprise, and HR departments. Our interns worked closely with their managers, participated in brainstorming sessions, conducted research, and helped to implement new systems.  They also got to participate in some other ‘special projects’ such as Washington Nationals baseball games and ice cream socials.

Before they left, we asked the summer 2014 interns to reflect a bit on their experience at IESC.

Charlotte Goodenow, Trade and Enterprise Development Intern:

[How I got this internship] is a funny story, actually. I worked part-time as an advisor in my university’s career center. I counseled people on getting jobs and internships. A student, who was applying for one of the intern positions at IESC, came in and asked for help with his cover letter. After reading through it, I thought to myself, ‘I’d better apply for that internship before he does!’ I had a lot of fun in my in-person interview, and I think I knew then that this would be a great experience and a great environment to work in!

I still have an open mind about where my career path is leading, but I got very valuable experience with trade, emerging markets, and enterprise development, which are my biggest interests. As an added bonus, I got to use my French when I translated documents and researched free trade agreements in Tunisia!

A Quirky Fact About Charlotte:

I used to sing opera and musical theater.

Memorable Moment: I went to a very interesting conference about business opportunities in Africa.

Charlotte is working on her BA in international studies from American University, class of 2016

Porscha Winston, M&E and Communications Intern:

My biggest achievement at IESC was getting a better understanding of how a home office operates and functions. Most of my prior experience was on the ‘field’ side of things and it was extremely beneficial to have this new perspective.

A Quirky Fact About Porscha: Shark week is my favorite week of the year. Hands down. No comparison.

Memorable Moment: Lunches in the conference room with Tom Miller trying to get to know us.

Porsha will be a second-year graduate student studying international development at American University.

Sarah Binger, ABADE Project Intern:

It was really valuable for me to just get a better feel for what it’s like to work in a home office of an  organization that is doing international work. That and learning more about the dynamics of a USAID project (and all the associated acronyms!) will probably be my biggest takeaways.

A Quirky Fact about Sarah: One time I was accidentally in a Bollywood movie.

Memorable Moment: Eating pizza with our CEO Tom Miller at our internship lunches.

Sarah will be starting an MA program in International Development at George Washington University

Udunopa Abalu, New Business Intern:

I learned a whole lot more about private sector enterprise hands-on than I would have in the classroom. I leave this internship with a better understanding of the technicalities and intricacies of successful international development programs fostered around social enterprise.  I gained enhanced knowledge of the proposal process and partnerships in private sector development. I also learned more about the non-profit administration and made valuable connections with other professionals at IESC.

A Quirky Fact About Udu: My family raised and bred German shepherd dogs for nearly 20 years.

Memorable Moment: The people, definitely, and connecting with Tom Miller over intern lunches.

Udu will be a second-year MA student in international trade and investment with a development economics concentration at the Elliot School, George Washington University

Will Lerch, HR Generalist Intern:

I learned about IESC from my older sister who was an intern here a couple of years ago. This was my first internship experience and first real office-setting job. I felt a little out of my element at first, but the office environment is great so I settled in quickly.

A Quirky Fact about Will: I live on a farm.

Memorable Moment: The Nationals game my first week of the internship. It was a fun experience and I got to know my co-workers better outside the office.

Will is majoring in economics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and will be a senior this fall

Saachi Makkar finished her summer internship before the preparation of this story. Saachi was a financial services intern at IESC.
Namita Paul started at IESC as a financial services intern in summer 2013. She continued her internship through the fall and now works as a consultant in financial services and on the Liberia IBEX program.