Sarah Strope, HANDS Intern fall 2018
Current Position: Intern at the American Association of Geographers
Since her time at HANDS she has interned for the Smithsonian National Zoo and has studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany during the fall semester of her junior year. She is currently a rising senior at George Washington University and is an intern with the American Association of Geographers.
My internship at HANDS prepared me well for many other jobs and internships that I have had; I feel that I have grown a lot professionally.
Payal Sindha, HANDS Program Manager, 2015-2017, HANDS Intern 2013
Current Position: Senior Program Coordinator at Vital Voices Global Partnership
Since HANDS, Payal has worked with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and is now the Senior Program Coordinator at Vital Voices Global Partnership. In my role at VV, she manages the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership and the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge, two programs that work with women entrepreneurs and business leaders around the world.
I wholeheartedly believe that my role at HANDS launched my career. Being a part of a smaller team meant that I was able to take on a bigger role in developing program agendas, organizing logistics of a program, reporting, developing new grant proposals, and many more aspects of program management that continue to play a role in my career today. Aside from the skills I learned, I had the chance to travel the country and the world, to places where I never dreamed of going: Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. I met and worked with amazing leaders and partners in the MENA region, many of whom have become lifelong friends and connections. Jennifer and Ivana are incredibly thoughtful in their approach to working in the MENA region, something that is invaluable and essential in international development. Working at HANDS felt like working with family, and I will always hold that sense of comradery close to me.
Madeleine Assaad, HANDS Intern summer 2017
Current Position: Student at the College of William and Mary
At HANDS, Madeleine helped organize an online shop to sell Egyptian handicrafts, as well as photographed and wrote descriptions of each item.
During my time at HANDS, I learned that even a few hours of work each day can make a difference in someone else’s life, even from thousands of miles away. This experience has pushed me to seek out more volunteer opportunities that benefit those other than myself, and also to learn more about international communities that are often underrepresented or overlooked.
Arwa Ahmed, HANDS Intern summer 2016
Current Position: Peace Corps Volunteer, Ethiopia
Arwa has recently received a Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs from George Mason University – class of 2017. Passionate about international development and humanitarianism, Arwa is off to Ethiopia as a part of the Peace Corps’ Education Program.
Arwa spent most of her time at HANDS working on the silent auction that takes place at the annual Fall Benefit Dinner.
Ana Faguy, HANDS intern summer 2015 & 2016
Current Position: Intern for Maryland Matters, a site the covers local and state politics
Ana is a rising junior at Saint Joseph’s University with Political Science major and minors in Journalism and Leadership Ethics and Organizational Sustainability (LEO). After her summer internship with HANDS, Ana studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium, where she also had a part-time internship opportunity at the European Union while taking classes.
My time at HANDS was incredibly helpful in laying the foundation for my work experience. At HANDS I learned the drive and passion needed to effect real change. I took my skills out of the classroom and was able to apply them at HANDS. That is an experience I will always be grateful for.
Caroline Harpel, HANDS intern summer 2016
Current Position: Program Director for a research study that examines the association between genetics and treatment-induced symptoms in women who underwent breast surgery.
Since her time at HANDS, Caroline studied Arabic along with pursuing a certificate in Global Health. She took a course on Economic Development in the MENA region, which complemented the knowledge I had gained from interning at HANDS, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 2019. She recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master’s Degree in Public Health.
HANDS provided me with my first exposure to the nonprofit world and to international development. Working with the Professional Fellows from the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region was the highlight of the internship. I gained insight into how the US government partners with organizations such as HANDS to foster international development, it was my first experience managing a group of any size, and I learned a lot about Egyptian culture by fostering friendships with the Fellows. HANDS provided me with a space to think critically about the impact I wanted to have on the world and was part of my inspiration to pursue a career in public health.
Stephanie Reed, HANDS intern spring 2016
Current Position: Program Officer in the South and Central Asia Branch, Office of Academic Exchange Programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
Stephanie is responsible for the Fulbright Programs for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. She also serves as Branch Diversity Group Representative. Prior to working at the ECA, Stephanie worked in the Office of the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, travelling to China, Vietnam, Finland, Mexico, and Brazil to promote the rights of persons with disabilities across the globe. Stephanie graduated from American University, where she majored in International Relations, focused on peace, global security, conflict resolution, and the Middle East.
HANDS gave me opportunities to acquire skill sets in areas such as drafting proposals, budgeting, event planning, and program management and evaluation. The team arranged for me to meet with Board members, staff from partner organizations, program participants, and donors. Whether through the enhancement of my communication skills or the development of other valuable skill sets, my time with HANDS was an experience that shaped who I am today and prepared me for a career in international relations.
Zoe Siepert, HANDS intern fall 2015
Current Position: Senior at the George Mason University studying Global Affairs with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa and a minor in International Security.
After my HANDS internship, I studied abroad in Morocco, started working at George Mason University’s Ali Vural AK Center for Global Islamic studies and participated in a yearlong internship for the Department of State with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Office of Near East Affairs.
My HANDS internship helped me develop my interpersonal skills through working hands-on with the Professional Fellows Program (PFP) and also helped me improve my writing skills from writing weekly E-newsletters. I love working with the staff, the other interns, and the fellows and still keep in contact with them years later!
After graduation, I will be serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Comoros, Africa where I will be a secondary English teacher for two years.
Maddi Raubaugh, HANDS intern spring 2015
Current Position: Senior at American University, School of International Service.
Since working at HANDS, I have interned for the Kisha Foundation, a non-profit Guyanese humanitarian organization. I have additionally interned for Child’s Advocacy and Women’s Rights International, a non-profit Middle Eastern development organization. This past summer I was a Research Assistant at the American Red Cross where I examined the question: Does ISIS’s use of forceful birth control equate to torture? Most recently I participated in the State Department’s Virtual Foreign Service Internship program in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Reform. Through this experience I founded and presided over the No Lost Generation Chapter at American University, a non-profit advocating for youth refugees.
My time at HANDS was extremely influential in my professional development process in D.C. HANDS was my very first internship and really enabled me to gain so many skills that I was able to transfer over into future internships. These experiences additionally helped me to land future internships. At HANDS I was introduced to USAID and had the opportunity to perform grant research. I was additionally introduced to Word Press and Constant Contact. Furthermore, I was able to improve my writing skills and further my knowledge of the Middle East through writing E-newsletters. One of the coolest projects I worked on at HANDS was interviewing an Egyptian Fellow (while she was in Egypt!) about her experience with the HANDS professional exchange program. Overall, my internship at HANDS really introduced me to the non-profit world, D.C. work culture, and furthered my knowledge of Middle Eastern culture.
I will be graduating May 2017 and planning to attend Middlebury Language School in California for Arabic this summer. Afterwards, I hope to secure a real job in D.C. with a Middle Eastern focus.
Michael Spencer, HANDS intern fall 2014
Current Position: Business Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Hands Along the Nile was definitely a formative moment in my career.
After my internship I moved back home to Grand Rapids, Michigan where I got a job as a Research Specialist for a renewable energy consulting firm called 5 Lakes Energy. My experience working with HANDS was instrumental in landing that first good job after college.
At the same time I was working as a Proofreader and Copy Editor at Crowe Horwath. My Hands Along the Nile experience proved useful again to get me the proofreading contract, I used the weekly newsletters that I had written and edited with [HANDS staff] as my writing sample for that job.
I work as a Business Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, even still I use skills I learned during my HANDS internship. At BCBSM I regularly proofread and edit marketing materials for Consumer-Directed Health Care. I also research federal healthcare reform and prepare presentations that executive leadership uses to stay ahead of the latest legislative changes. Hands Along the Nile helped me develop skills and insight that I now use to improve consumer engagement and help people learn how their health savings accounts work. And of course I also use tricks I learned from Hands in Microsoft Word and Excel pretty much daily.
Bettina Jones, HANDS intern summer 2014
Current Position: Studying for a PhD in Economics at University American College Skopje in Macedonia, while also working as an instructor in business communication and academic writing. Junior project manager and grant writer at an NGO called Balkan Economic Forum.
HANDS was my first professional experience and it helped me work on a wide variety of skills that are now very valuable to my employers. Grant writing, for example, is an in-demand skill that I first started practicing at HANDS; donor management, event planning, and many more. It gave me a great first taste of professional life in Washington, D.C., and helped me get used to working on real projects, while still in a relaxed environment. [HANDS staff] gave me one of the best pieces of advice of my professional life: they advised me to go abroad and work for a few years to gain “on the ground” experience and then return to D.C. or elsewhere a seasonal professional. Since I left HANDS, I moved to Macedonia to explore work opportunities abroad and to get more “on the ground” experience.
Brian Pouy, HANDS intern summer 2013
Current Position: Background Investigator for CACI on their contract with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
I interned at HANDS in summer 2013; my major duties that summer included writing the annual report for 2012 and helping to plan a reception for a conference that HANDS later hosted in September 2013. After interning at HANDS, I spent eight months studying Mandarin in Beijing, China on a Boren Scholarship. I graduated from American University magna cum laude in 2016.
My time at HANDS prepared me for the real world because right from the start, I was given the opportunity to work independently on substantive tasks. Because HANDS trusted me to take the lead on such an important task as the annual report with the limited work experience I had before starting the internship, I gained confidence that now allows me to thrive in my position as an investigator, where the vast majority of my work is done independently.
Starr Brainard, HANDS intern spring 2011
Current Position: Working for the federal government in Duluth, Minnesota.
Before Starr’s current position, she was awarded and, in 2016, completed a Fulbright scholarship to conduct sustainable agriculture research in Alberta, Canada. Starr’s time at HANDS helped her in undergrad and beyond by educating her about Egypt and connecting her with organizations in Egypt. During Starr’s studies she was awarded a Boren scholarship to live abroad and study Arabic in Egypt. After she graduated Starr’s first job in her field was at The American University in Cairo with their Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE).
Rachel Downs, HANDS intern fall 2008, Program Assistant 2010-2012
Current Position: Program Manager at Dexis Consulting Group, supporting USAID and DOS programs in trade, public-private partnerships, and public diplomacy.
HANDS was my first internship and I learned many lessons ranging from budget and project management, to Egyptian history and culture, to volunteer recruitment and outreach.
The most immediate impact of my internship was my ability to join the HANDS team as a Project Assistant from 2010-2012 supporting the Young Entrepreneurs Program! I worked closely with [HANDS staff] to facilitate three rounds of the program – in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Cairo. I departed HANDS in 2012 to complete a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, where I continued my international engagement through research and internships in Japan and the Philippines.
Lori Kessler, HANDS intern spring 2008
Current Position: Operations Manager at Fuse Washington, a progressive advocacy organization in Seattle, Washington.
Since my time at HANDS, I earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington and have also worked for the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Washington and the League of Women Voters of Washington.
Working at HANDS gave me concrete skills in nonprofit administration that have served me well since. Executive support, grant writing, social media, and program management were just the kinds of capabilities that nonprofit employers were looking for! I keep in touch with [HANDS staff], mostly on Facebook, and [they were] a wonderful employment references for my first few jobs out of school. I feel like I was really valued during my time as an intern there, but I particularly appreciate how [HANDS staff] have continued to take an interest in my life and my professional development. I enjoy getting the HANDS newsletter and following HANDS on Facebook to continue following HANDS’s great work.