Student Stories: When in Rome … CED major interns at U.S. Embassy

As an economic intern for the U.S. State Department at the American Embassy in Rome, Penn State senior Eleanor Polley attended conferences and conducted research.

From May through August, attending conferences between U.S. and Italian officials was a big part of Polley's role. The sessions provided an overview of the Italian economy -- what it had done in past years and what was expected in the future.

"The Italian economy has been struggling, so it was really interesting to see how the United States wanted to fit into it," she said.

Polley also joined Foreign Service officers in attending meetings within the economic department of the embassy to discuss both the American and Italian news -- reading Italian newspapers and staying current on events was one of her daily tasks.

She researched the developing relationship between the economic departments of the United States and Italy, as well as key issues that influence their economies, such as trade agreements.

In addition to the bilateral economic situation, Polley's research focused on the U.S. Embassy's desire to present a more sustainable image. She concentrated on new green initiatives that have resulted from growing global environmental concerns.

The Cortland, N.Y., native has invested time in Penn State's community, environment and development courses, which emphasize the value of studying nations and events that have formed policies that affect current events and societies -- time well spent, according to Polley.

"Some of the conflicts that were covered in class could easily be applied to my research topics in Italy and issues I was reading about in the news," she said. "It was interesting to relate the current events to what I had been studying, and it helped to bring that knowledge to the internship."

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Last Updated May 02, 2014