Intern Spotlight: Arwa Ali

IMG_6009.jpgName: Arwa Ali

Major/Year/School: B.A. in Economics, Class of ’18, Cornell University

Position: Research Intern

Organizations: Muslim Educational and Cultural Association (worship committee), Humanity First at Cornell (Fundraising Director), Ithaca Welcomes Refugees (Arabic interpreter trainee), Roosevelt Institute at Cornell (Policy Analyst)

What drew you to an internship at IWPR?

I have a variety of career interests, but they all revolve around social welfare and economic empowerment, which is how I landed on being an economics major. Though I applied to many internships, I felt that IWPR truly integrated all of my interests and would provide me with the most growth, particularly because women are so central to maintaining a positive community structure. Going onto the IWPR website always got me excited about all of the impactful research they put out, and I knew I wanted to contribute to that!

What does a typical day as a research intern at IWPR look like?

The one thing I can expect daily at IWPR is the 12:30pm group message on the “lunchtrain” chat.  Other than that, each day presents a new learning opportunity. I check in with my supervisor every couple of days to see if there are new projects I can take on, which is always exciting. As a research intern, you can expect to be asked to fact-check IWPR publications, which is ensures that a draft has accurate statistics and information.

The most enjoyable part for me has been doing research to collect information on a variety of topics, including sex trafficking in the United States and youth violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. These topics are hard to research, on an emotional level, but learning about the reality of these issues is necessary in order to combat them.

What’s the best part of interning at IWPR?

The best part for me has definitely been the people. Everyone I have encountered at IWPR is genuinely passionate about bettering the lives of others and ready to put in the necessary work to do so. The work environment is encouraging even though the state of our world isn’t so much at the moment. I got to attend the release of the Status of Black Women in the United States report (which I also got to help fact-check!) and hear Alicia Garza, of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Black Lives Matter, speak in person; the amount of valuable information in that one report is amazing! Seeing how research can be used to put out hard facts and figures to catch the attention of policymakers is truly inspiring.

What are your future career interests?

My interests revolve around social welfare, but I still haven’t settled on a single career path. I am currently looking to pursue grad school in either public health or public policy after completing my undergraduate degree.

Any advice for future IWPR interns?

There are so many amazing people that work here and come from a wide range of career backgrounds. Take the time to get to know them (not just your supervisor) and learn about their specific areas of research and how they got to where they are.

Favorite lunch spot? I have only eaten out once since I’ve been here (to be fair, I was fasting for Ramadan for a good chunk of my time here). I ate at CAVA, and it is SO good.

Favorite D.C. museum? I don’t know if it’s my favorite (haven’t gone yet), but the museum currently at the top of my list is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I’ve tried to get weekend tickets twice so far and failed (ticket sales are same-day starting 6:30am).

Favorite podcast or reading material on your commute? I’ve recently started listening to a podcast called Strangers, and it’s really eye-opening to listen to the stories of others.

What else do you like to do in your spare time I like to spend most of my spare time hanging out with friends, but if I’m not doing that, you can catch me going on a YouTube video spree, drinking tea (fave!), or sleeping.


Stay tuned throughout the summer as we highlight other IWPR interns and learn more about IWPR’s internship program here.

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