Khadija Butt is a senior at American University double majoring in Political Science and Spanish Studies. She grew up in South Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2016. Before joining CLS, she was a Digital Communications Fellow at BluShark Digital, where she focused on developing SEO and Google PPC skills. She was also a Legal Studies Fellow for the American University Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, where she helped draft expert declarations for the immigration process.
1. Who/what has had the most impact on your academic or professional interests?
a. Throughout my academic and professional experiences, I’ve had plenty of mentors who have helped shape my interests. I’ve loved almost every single professor I’ve had during my academic career at American, but I’ll list just a few here. Susan Glover, Núria Vilanova, Amelia Tseng and Chip Gerfen have shaped my academic interests in international relations, international communications and linguistics, and I’ve taken classes with all multiple times. I can’t thank them enough for the impact they’ve left on me. Professionally, my parents have always pushed me to be the best version of myself I can be, and I’m grateful to have been surrounded by so many amazing mentors at past internships and jobs who have taught me everything I know now.
2. What do you look for in an internship experience, and how has this shaped your career goals?
I believe the most valuable part of an internship is the transferable skills you gain to take to future positions and experiences. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at a firm where I can learn something new every day, and I try to make the most of it as much as possible.
3. What are your long-term career goals?
I still have no idea what I want my long-term career goals are, but right now, I would like to work in international relations, hopefully in international development or communications focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean.
4. What has surprised you so far about your journey towards your career goals?
What has surprised me the most is how much my goals have changed since I started university in 2016. I thought I wanted to go to law school straight afterwards, but as I completed different internships, I realized law wasn’t my only passion. The biggest thing I’ve taken away from my professional experiences is that your career will not be a linear path, and for me, it was best to look at opportunities to gain experience in many different fields.
5. Can you expand on your interest in public relations?
I haven’t been interested in public relations until recently, but it really fascinates me how media can shape public opinion and I found myself wanting to learn more about the field. Public relations play such a significant role in day-to-day life and it’s exhilarating that every single day is different. The possibilities under the umbrella of public relations feels infinite, and it’s something I would like to pursue in the future.
6. What comes easiest to you as an intern at CLS Strategies?
Being flexible throughout the day is something that has come easy to me. Each account is unique in its needs, so being able to switch gears quickly while prioritizing tasks and keeping an open mind is essential.
7. What has been your biggest challenge as an intern at CLS Strategies? How do you address that?
So far, my biggest challenge as an intern would have to be working on so many different accounts at once and learning how to balance the tasks that come with them. Staying organized, understanding how to prioritize and communicating with the teams have been important skills to learn and execute.
8. What is your favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C.?
My favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C. is that there is constantly something new to do. I love to check out new restaurants and galleries at museums!
9. On our website, we ask all of our staff to share three things about themselves. What are three things about yourself that we might not know?
1. I’m half Dutch Caribbean and half Pakistani. People always ask how my parents met and I just say Miami.
2. I speak English, Papiamentu and Spanish. I love learning new languages, and I’m currently learning Portuguese and Urdu.
3. I love Haribo candy and my absolute favorite is Twin Snakes.