Intern Spotlight: Andrea Carla Lopez

CLS News
June 28, 2019

Intern Spotlight: Andrea Carla Lopez

Andrea was born and raised in Miami, Florida, constantly surrounded by loads of sun, Spanglish and Peruvian food. She’s a University of Florida alumna (go gators!) with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public relations. Now, Andrea is a rising second year graduate student in the international affairs program at George Washington University. Having previously interned abroad in London, she will now further her cross-cultural experiences by studying abroad in Paris this fall, where she’ll hopefully learn French.

1. Who/what has had the most impact on your academic or professional interests?

Interning at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shaped my career ambitions. I learned that working for an organization that allows for growth while teaching you about important issues, such as the refugee crises happening around the world, is something I really value. Moreover, working at UNHCR is why I decided to go to graduate school and concentrate on international law and organizations, since I felt that I had so much more to learn before entering the field. This experience also honed by interests in refugee and child protection issues, which I aim to dive more into with my future academic and professional experiences.

2. What do you look for in an internship experience, and how has this shaped your career goals?

I look for a supportive work environment that invests in both teaching its interns and allowing them to practice the skills they are most interested in improving. Thus far, my recent internships at Legal Services Corporation, Republica and the University of Florida’s University Relations Office have allowed me to grow in the communications field. Each let me really develop different skill sets in the field and showed me where my strengths and interests lie.

3. What are your long-term career goals?

My ultimate career goal is to work for an NGO or UN-related agency that concentrates on refugees, women or child protection issues in either a communications or external relations capacity.

4. What has surprised you so far about your journey towards your career goals? 

The biggest reality check has probably been learning about the amount of bureaucracy there is when it comes to the job market, along with the critical need for a strong network. I always knew the job market in D.C. was competitive but the more time I spend in D.C., the more I realize how important it is to build connections and invest in developing that skillset.

5. Can you expand on your interest in public relations?

I originally was not the biggest fan of public relations throughout my studies, despite choosing it as one of my majors. However, during my junior year, I was able to put my education to practice through a strategies course I had to take. At the end of the course, we had to create as a final group project a campaign for an organization, which including conducting research on its competitors, analyzing our target audience, and so on. We chose the International Rescue Committee and were able to learn more about refuge crises and how the organization itself worked. I was able to further develop my particular interest in the subject and found out how much I enjoyed the research and strategy side of public relations.

6. What comes easiest to you as an intern at CLS Strategies?

Research tasks come easiest to me because I genuinely enjoy it and as a graduate student, research is a huge part of my life. Focusing on the most relevant, dependable information with an end goal in mind is key for any project, and I’ve found always keeping that in mind is helpful. This is especially true for accounts that deal with sensitive and/or political information.

7. What has been your biggest challenge as an intern at CLS Strategies? How do you address that?

Keeping up with all my accounts’ internal communications and relevant news has been the most challenging part of my internship so far. I’ll admit I am still working on that, but as time passes, I’ve noticed that I’m adjusting to the common vocabulary used during meetings along with keeping up with all the internal/external communications.

8. What is your favorite thing about living in Washington, D.C.?

To be honest, the fact that our local news is national news still blows my mind about D.C. I love the fact that most people here care as much about international issues and domestic politics as I do.

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 a dual citizen (U.S. & Peru)
  2. I collect shot glasses from every city I’ve been to
  3. I’m a huge nerd when it comes to Marvel and tv shows
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