Welcome back to Summer Spotlight! This week we are featuring Claire Nussbaum ‘19. Claire is a senior in the Woodrow Wilson School and a volleyball athlete, and she’s one of our Jock Doc peer leaders . She’s an avid listener of podcasts and cites her freshmen seminar and Critical Perspectives in Global Health (GHP 350) as a couple of her favorite courses. This past summer, Claire was awarded a GHP internship working with the Peace Corps in Washington, DC in the Office of Global Health and HIV. As a Woody Woo and a GHP certificate student, Claire has a strong interest in global health issues. It didn’t hurt that the position was based in DC, a city Claire is fond of and has considered relocating to as part of her future career plans.
Claire expressed appreciation in the flexibility and independence she was given for her internship. She preferred to start work around 830 in the morning, wrapping up her day around 330pm. On the other hand, another Princeton intern working in the office preferred to come in a bit later and left a bit later.
Claire’s days consisted of many different tasks based on questions the team was hoping to answer from data they had collected. Claire worked on various projects throughout her internship, including data analysis and analysis of case studies using qualitative analysis. While Claire took Statistics for Social Sciences (WWS 200) for her stats requirement, she taught herself to work in Excel for the summer (rather than R, which the course was based on), but noted that the Peace Corps was happy to provide most of the training needed to do her job well. The office also held regular meetings to discuss progress and pressing issues, and staff were given time to attend conferences taking in place in DC on various global health topics as well as watching or listening to webinars that related to the office work.
Asked what she appreciated most about the experience being in DC and working at the Peace Corps, Claire answered with a familiar response, “The people.” In addition to her co-workers being friendly and kind, she also shared that their personal journeys that brought them to the Peace Corps were fascinating and created a dynamic workplace. Claire said Peace Corps staff came from all over and had often traveled and lived in many different places throughout the world. She also said many of them had earned a Master’s in Public Health, a degree path Claire is interested in. She loved learning from them, and she was inspired by learning about the experiences, which helped her reflect on her own work and future plans.
Claire’s advice for first years looking for summer opportunities was “don’t worry too much about what you do for that first summer.” After her first year, Claire studied abroad through Princeton in Spain; she had a wonderful experience and earned a course credit that gave her more scheduling flexibility. She feels that “you have plenty of time to gain more professional experience through internships” as an older student, and that it’s okay to enjoy that first summer and take a break if you need it.