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Networking in Washington, DC

July 22, 2013

A smiling woman in a black shirtMarisa Rafsky graduated Magna Cum Laude along with an International Baccalaureate Diploma from Bodine High School for International Affairs and is now a rising sophomore at Bryn Mawr College. She plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and then a Master’s degree in International Security, specializing in counter-terrorism. A 2011 trip to Israel inspired Marisa to consider the impact of terrorism and security issues on the challenges of poverty. She is interested in improving bilateral relations between the US and foreign governments in order to solve international security concerns. Marisa aspires to become a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving the interests of the United States nationally and abroad. She also is interested in furthering Jewish and Latino communities in the US and elsewhere. Marisa is completing her Youth in Development (YiD) internship at Winrock International, which works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources.  The YiD internship program has brought Marisa, along with six other students with disabilities from across the United States, to Washington, DC, to complete summer internships at various international organizations in the region.

Connect with (Shana) Marisa Rafsky via her LinkedIn profile at:

One of the many things I’m learning about while in DC is networking.  Networking happens in many forms, even informally.  For example, I contacted another Bryn Mawr student, also interning in DC for the summer about getting together for coffee.  She responded eagerly and added me to a Facebook group for Bryn Mawr students and alums living in DC so I could receive alerts about networking events and social outings.  I’ve already added some upcoming events to my calendar.

Earlier this week, on my way to Arlington I ran into a work colleague in Winrock’s New Business Unit.  We chatted on the metro about work projects, study abroad in college, and she asked about my career goals.  I told her I hoped to join the Foreign Service and she responded “I have a friend who was in the Foreign Service.  I can arrange for you to meet him and we can all have coffee together.” I thanked her and said I would love to have a meeting with her friend.  I plan to ask her next week when we could meet up with her Foreign Service Officer friend.

Besides online and in person-networking, there are niche networks in place.  I have subscribed to several newsletters for young professionals in the DC metro area which cater to a set of specific interests.  These interests range from foreign affairs to political organizing.  Some of the newsletters are not career-oriented, but focus on fun social interests.  Since DC is “run by interns”, it makes sense that organizations and network events would try to attract young talent with variety of interests not limited to the professional world.  Aspiring professionals who come to DC in the summers to get a taste of the DC life are also seriously considering relocating to DC after college/graduate school graduation.  Having the knowledge that I can develop networks in almost every area gives me greater confidence that I will be able to create a viable work and social life for myself when I am well into my twenties.

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