National Defense University


**The NESA Center is currently accepting applications for Fall 2021 internships. The deadline to apply is Friday August 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: while internships are currently being conducted remotely, we may begin shifting to a hybrid remote / in-person model in the near future. Due to this, we require applicants to reside in the Washington, DC area for the duration of internship term. 

NESA Interns Summer 2021

Patrick Centeno is a junior at Ramapo College of New Jersey, pursuing a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. His academic interests include U.S. foreign policy and national security, the political and religious culture of the Middle East, and economic relations between the U.S. and the NESA region. Patrick has researched the Moorish influence on the Iberian Peninsula; the intersection between Islam, culture, the state in the Middle East; and policy interventions in India to achieve sustainable water and sanitation development markers. While at NESA, Patrick hopes to develop his research and analysis skills and increase expertise on U.S. foreign policy, defense, and diplomacy.

Paul Cornelius is a junior at The George Washington University pursuing a B.B.A. in International Business and a double minor in International Affairs and Economics. His academic interests include U.S. foreign policy, security cooperation, international trade, foreign market analysis, and fintech. Prior to joining NESA, Paul was a legislative intern for Congressman Don Young and a student ambassador for the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. During his time at the NESA Center, he hopes to elevate his research and analysis skills and gain a deeper understanding of geopolitical and economic developments in the NESA region.

Ria Deval is a rising junior at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She is majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in International Development and a minor in Public Health. Her academic interests include global health policy, security policy, and U.S. foreign and defense studies. Ria works as an EMT in her hometown and prior to joining NESA, she interned as a Research Intern at the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C. While at NESA, she hopes to gain understanding of U.S. security cooperation and defense strategy from experts on the region.

Dakota Prince is a senior at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government pursuing a B.A. in Government and International Politics, and a minor in Philosophy and Law. His academic interests include international security, constitutional law, counterterrorism, and particularly, nuclear non-proliferation diplomacy. Dakota has a strong focus on affairs in the Iranian region and its development as a rising nuclear power. Through his internship at NESA, Dakota hopes to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in the international political arena and to help resolve conflicts in the Middle East.

Ria Reddy is a rising sophomore at Stanford University pursuing a major in International Affairs with a specialization in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. Her academic interests include nuclear security, conflict resolution, and foreign language learning. Prior to joining NESA, Ria studied abroad in Tajikistan, and researched the ongoing Soviet influence in the region. During her time at NESA, Ria hopes to develop her understanding of the United States’ security relationship and diplomacy with countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Saba Sattar is a doctoral candidate of Statecraft and National Security at the Institute of World Politics (IWP) Washington D.C. Her academic interests include the revival of great power competition, security relations, geoeconomics, and challenges ranging across the conflict continuum. Saba previously attained an M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs at IWP, as well as a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Criminology from George Mason University. During her time as an intern at the NESA Center, Saba hopes to enhance her professional research and analytical skills and learn practical ways to move U.S. strategic partnerships forward.

Reflections from Past Interns

“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).

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