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Katerina Roldan ’17

How did you explore your interests and decide on a major?

Coming into Lake Forest College, I knew I had a strong interest in the social sciences, it was just choosing exactly what major within it that I would decide on. After looking on the website at all the majors, I could not help but feel so excited about all the classes under international relations. From Latin American Politics to Emerging Markets Analysis, all the classes truly sounded fascinating, and I enjoyed knowing that the classes would touch on politics, history, culture and business, all with an international focus.

What were your responsibilities as an intern?

At the British Consulate-General Chicago, some of my responsibilities were working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM software to help manage their contacts, events, and ongoing foreign direct investment projects. I also conducted economic and political research on Midwest territories, and prepared briefing material for government officials and senior management.

What was the most rewarding part of your internship?

The most rewarding part of my internship at the British Consulate-General Chicago was really being able to explore my interests. The set up of the internship was a “learning program” so they allowed me to dive into what I wanted to take out of the internship. The research helped me to explore the concept of international trade, while also gain extensive knowledge on Chicago’s economy and its role in the global economy. I am positive that the rewarding knowledge I gained at the Consulate has carried onto my current internships and will carry on to my future career.

What did you learn about yourself during your internship?

One of the key things I learned about myself through my internship was how much I enjoy a smaller department/office. I think this type of environment really challenges people because the organization expects a lot from each member of the team. Also, I enjoy the idea of having a tight knit work community where I can develop great, long lasting connections.

What role has your internship played in shaping your career path?

My internship introduced me to the career possibilities in the government realm, while also having a focus on economics and business. Moving forward, I will continue to push for a career in international business, whether if it is a position focusing on global business development, or a government position that deals with international trade.

Do you have any advice for students completing internships in your field?

If you want to get the most out of an internship experience, you MUST ask questions! First, this will make you look good as a professional. Second, this will allow so many more doors to be opened. Ask to join in on that project or event, and ask all about your supervisors education and background - you will take so much out of the experience through the power of asking questions. And, networking is key!

Anything else to add?

Participating in either a study abroad program or Lake Forest In the Loop (or even both) will enhance your academic experience. The experiences challenge you, and push you out of your comfort zone. I am so endlessly grateful for taking on those opportunities.