IA Alumni Spotlight featuring Elena Akers – 1/25/21

The very first event I organized for the Spring 2021 semester as the Professional Development Chair was an Alumni Spotlight featuring Elena Akers, who is an IA Alum that graduated in 2020, received the Fulbright to go to Germany and is working as an intern for START, which is the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland and is researching domestic radicalization in the United States through this internship. She shared her experiences about the work she is doing at her remote internship at START, her process of applying to competitive fellowships such as the Fulbright, and looking for internships, especially virtual internships, such as the one she has with START. Her work studying domestic radicalization was incredibly fascinating as she shared a database that START has created to track activities of the radical groups and the demographics and locations of radicals who are posing a danger to society today. Tracking this data is also incredibly relevant today with the rise of white supremacist activity and hate crimes that came with the storming of the US Capital and the hate crimes committed against the Asian-American community in Atlanta and nationwide, which are all rooted in notions of white supremacy and radical activity. Elena also shared the process of applying to remote internships and how to develop interpersonal connections from remote internships that an intern would normally develop during an in-person internship. It was great to hear her advice on being focused and taking time to connect with people through the opportunities you come across, whether it is going to online office hours for your classes or taking the initiative to schedule zoom meetings with people you may have met through internships or at Ohio State in any capacity that you are inspired by and want to learn more from.

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