Summer Internships: Ashley Zhuge '25
Name: Ashley Zhuge
Class Year: 2025
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Shenzhen, China
Internship Organization: Foreign Policy Research Institute
Job Title: Research Intern
What's happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
I work as a research assistant for an affiliated scholar. I perform archival research where I (try to) systematically survey and analyze primary sources for a section of a foreign policy research report. I report to the scholar weekly or biweekly. I had a lot of autonomy over what to study and how to approach it, which I really loved, and it allowed me to drive the process and truly experience research.
Why did you apply for this internship?
Passionate about political science and pursuing a career in academia, I wanted to hone my research skills and explore different subfields within political science.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship was being able to participate in the very early stage of research. On the first day, the scholar I work under gave me the big questions for this report and encouraged me to approach them as I find appropriate. I thought I would just be reading and summarizing, but I found myself in a sea of information! To systematically survey, analyze, and construct a picture somewhat representative of what is there in the real world was actually really challenging. Sometimes I would forget about the original research questions, and sometimes I ran into very interesting pieces but only afterward admitted that I could not take those pieces that supported my analyses as something representative of the whole picture. I want to thank the scholar I work under for the autonomy, trust, and guidance during the process.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
Effective communication was the most important skill I learned. I maintain a progress journal and write short progress reports to keep myself and the scholar I work with on track. Over time, the format of my reports became more concise. The habit of journaling helped a lot when I was catching up after a one-week break because I had all the next steps laid out and ideas to explore recorded.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.