National Defense University


**The NESA Center is currently accepting applications for Fall ’22 internships. The deadline to apply for Fall ’22 internships is Friday 12 August; the internship will begin on Tuesday September 6th.**

To apply, send your resume, cover letter, and writing sample (1-3 pages) to Mr. Sam Marrero at Samuel.Marrero@ndu.edu. The NESA Center reviews internship applications on a rolling basis, so interested applicants are encouraged to apply early. NESA internships are full-time and unpaid.

Note: internships are being conducted in a flexible hybrid remote / in-person model.

NESA Interns Summer 2022

Josh Phillips is a sophomore pursing a double major in Political Science and Economics at Mississippi State University. His academic interests include foreign policy, global markets, and the comparative nature of differing governmental institutions. He has previously assisted MSU faculty in researching the DoD and the changing nature of the National Guard in a globalizing world. During his time at NESA, Josh hopes to develop professional relationships and further his research and writing skills while gaining a deeper understanding of foreign policy challenges in the region.

Caitlin Shipley is a junior studying International Studies with a global concentration and Arab and Islamic world studies at the College of Charleston. Her academic interests include international affairs, foreign policy, security, and counterterrorism. In the Fall, Caitlin will study abroad in Cairo, Egypt, where she will continue her studies in International Relations, Arab world studies, and the Arabic language in both Modern Standard and Egyptian Dialect. At NESA, Caitlin hopes to further her research and writing skills and gain a deeper understanding of the NESA region and its security challenges.

Kareem Malas is a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in Security, Strategy, and the Middle East. Kareem holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and is fluent in Arabic and French. His research interests focus on U.S. foreign and defense policies in the Middle East, counterterrorism, and great power competition in the Gulf region. Before joining SAIS, Kareem worked as an Associate Consultant for a London-based advisory firm between 2018 and 2021. Based in the Gulf region, he conducted research and analysis on the shifting political, social, and economic dynamics in the Gulf. At NESA, Kareem aims to build a broader understanding of the security challenges facing the U.S. and its regional partners and contribute to the institute’s programs in addressing them.

Simran Sharma is a second-year graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy concentrating upon security studies and international negotiations. Prior to her degree at Fletcher, she worked in the international development space in India as a Gandhi Fellow with the Piramal Foundation. Her academic interests include the rise of China and the great power competition in South Asia with focus on maritime issues in the Indian Ocean Region and South China Sea. At NESA, she hopes to expand her analytical skills to understand the emerging geopolitical and security risks of South Asia vis-a-vis China.

Thomas Menten is a senior at Georgetown University, studying International Politics. His academic interests include the security in the Asian-Pacific, and counterinsurgency. For the Spring semester prior to joining NESA, Thomas worked as a program assistant for the International Fellows Program at ISMO. At NESA, he hopes to continue to assist in the facilitation of joint security cooperation with partner countries and learn more about political and security issues of the region.

Caroline Heimbach is a sophomore in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she is majoring in Regional and Comparative Studies with minors in Arabic and Theology. Her academic interests include extremism and security partnerships. She became interested in the region while working with Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa holders as an intern with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. Caroline continued to pursue these interests as a research assistant for the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center, supporting a project related to Syria’s Ahrar al-Sham. At NESA, Caroline hopes to build upon her academic foundation and work alongside those with experience shaping and researching pressing security topics.

Theodore Bennett is a rising senior studying Economics and Government at the College of William & Mary. His academic interests include US-Asian international affairs, security implications of the semiconductor industry, and great power dynamics. Prior to joining NESA, Theodore worked at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies conducting research on international security and great power competition. While at NESA, he hopes to expand his understanding of international cooperation as well as security challenges in the NESA region.

Reflections from Past Interns

“I worked on intriguing research projects and assisted thought-provoking and engaging seminars on a wide variety of NESA region topics. Considering the genuine conversations I had with NESA faculty, staff, and outside experts, the entire experience was pivotal in deciding the next steps in my academic and professional career and helped me develop the necessary skills and knowledge to take them.”

-Lien Knaepen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Spring 2022 Intern

“The unique and stimulating environment at NESA has become the foundation of my academic and career trajectory. NESA gave me invaluable experiences deepening my knowledge of the Middle East and Asia, as well as opening my eyes to the importance of sub-regional distinctions in international security. My enduring and vibrant relationships with the NESA Senior Leadership, Faculty and Staff continue to shape my global perspective and benefit me professionally.”

-Patrick Centeno, Ramapo College, Summer 2021 Intern

“I had the unique opportunity to assist NESA’s expert faculty research on topics that most interest me and engage with practitioners and government officials directly  from the NESA region. Although my internship was virtual, it was highly dynamic and interactive. I gained skills and connections that have already been crucial for beginning my career in foreign policy.”

-Ishmael Maxwell, Carleton College, Summer 2020 Intern

“Through NESA, I was able to develop professional skills alongside experts from across the globe. The flexibility NESA offers in developing my own research with guidance from Faculty allowed me to develop skills crucial for my career path. NESA is filled with opportunities that prepare students for the workforce.”

-Arwa Mokdad, University of Washington, Fall 2019 Intern

“NESA did not only give me the opportunity to see, listen and learn from experts in their fields, it also gave me the opportunity to interact with military officials from the NESA region. NESA also helped me to pursue my future goals and even put me in contact with people in the field from my home country, Belgium.”

-Kirsten Devlieger, Free University of Brussels, Fall 2018 Intern

“The NESA Center offered opportunities to which I’d never imagined I’d have access as a student. Not only was I able to take notes and learn from participant programs, but I engaged with participants and even observe high level policy meetings. Very few internships could have offered me the same opportunities as the NESA Center.”

-Chris Atmajian, California State University Northridge, Spring 2018 Intern

“What was different than other internships was being able to develop our own research interests and getting to interact with participants from the region. That was an incredible experience. As someone who also interned on the Hill, the biggest difference was that NESA helped me professionally develop and expand my network in an area in which I’m interested in working.”

-Matt Mueller, James Madison University, Summer 2017 Intern


The NESA Center’s internship program is an opportunity for highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students to gain professional skills and subject matter development on foreign policy and national security issues associated with the Near East and South Asia region.

NESA interns are expected to employ competent research, writing, and communications skills in support of NESA faculty research and programs. NESA interns receive access to the National Defense University library and research resources to support research work. NESA interns participate in conferences, workshops, and other programs at the National Defense University featuring academics, subject matter experts, military officers, and diplomats. NESA interns also receive development opportunities throughout the Washington, D.C. area, accompanying faculty and participants on site visits to places like Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the State Department.

Interns are encouraged to pursue publication opportunities under the guidance of, or in partnership with, NESA Faculty.

The NESA Center internship is unpaid, and the NESA Center does not provide or assist interns in finding housing accommodations. If you are without housing accommodation, or your home institution or Washington DC area supporting institution does not provide housing accommodation, then interested applicants are encouraged to search listings online or reach out to Washington Intern Student Housing.


Assist NESA Center faculty and staff with long- and short-term research projects related to the NESA region.
NESA programs support: note-taking, course material preparation and logistical support.


A demonstrated interest in International Affairs, Defense, Security Studies, and the NESA Region.
Detail oriented, highly organized, and able to work independently or in teams.
Strong written and verbal communication skills.
Foreign Language skills a plus: particularly Arabic, French, Russian, Farsi, Urdu, Pashto, Dari.
Interested applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting university program (undergraduate or graduate).