Laura Stilwell | 2012 | Interns

Laura Stilwell (’14)

Folsom, PA

Dana Mead Intern

Biology and Urban Studies and Planning Major

OXFAM America

This summer I worked at Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization that aims to help people overcome poverty and to fight for social justice. During my internship, I worked on a project that focused on US policies towards gum Arabic, a commodity that is grown throughout the Sahel region of Africa and critical to the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. For the project, I wrote a paper that explored how the US government’s funding of a gum Arabic substitute is incoherent with the US government’s development agenda. Through this project and through working at Oxfam, I was able to learn about US development policies and obtain an understanding of the role that different development organizations play in Washington D.C, as well as in the policymaking process. As I wish to pursue a career in International Development, the internship allowed me to explore different areas of development, and also provided me with some insight as to what type of organization I would like to work for in the future.

From the seminars and from my fellow interns, I was able to learn about a wide variety of ways an MIT education can apply to policy work. Through this program, I was given the opportunity to meet many passionate and accomplished individuals, who have further inspired me to continue pursuing a career in international development.