2013 Stipend Recipient: Jillian Wilkowski ’15

Dear Class of 1997,

I used the Class of 1997 Public Works Summer Stipend to support my summer internship at the US Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia.  I worked in the Executive Office (office of the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM)), and the Political and Economic Sections.  In my capacity as an Executive Office intern, I had the incredible opportunity to attend and participate in daily meetings with the Ambassador and DCM.  From these meetings and press briefings, I would help draft the Daily Activity Report to send to Main State in Washington, D.C.  I also researched, wrote, and released two timely cables one on the Croatian ethnic Serb population and the other on the country’s growing railway sector.  I had the opportunity to aid in delivering demarches (formal transactions of information one government to another) and I had two articles published in the State Department’s in-house publication, one on the accession of Croatia into the EU and another on a refugee grant monitoring visit I attended.  I also produced the FY13 Operational Report, regularly performed research for and briefed the DCM, and attended many diplomatic events, for example, a 4th of July celebration at the Ambassador’s house for Croatian leaders, formal events hosted for visiting American businesses, and dinners with political contacts.

My experience was, quite frankly, amazing.  The nature of my position in the Executive Office meant that I had the chance to attend high-level meetings that I probably will not have the opportunity to again until well into a Foreign Service career.  While I expected it to be a productive internship, I in no way imaged how integrated I would become into the operations of the embassy sections I worked in and how much I would learn.  In a very generous letter of recommendation, the Ambassador wrote that the quality of my work was equal to that of a seasoned Foreign Service Officer—the incredible part of this is that, with the help of the Class of 1997, I had the opportunity to try out the work of a Foreign Service Officer, even before officially beginning my coursework in the Wilson School.  Coming back from my internship, I have a renewed sense of purpose in my studies and campus activities.  The internship greatly expanded both my regional knowledge and language skills, both of which I hope to use in a public service career in the future.  Thank you so much for your incredible generosity in supporting my internship.  The experience was invaluable, but I certainly could not have afforded it without your help.

Thank you,

Jillian Wilkowski ’15