Internship in Poland Helps Washnock Prepare For Career In Public Policy/Foreign Relations

An internship at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S in Warsaw, Poland is allowing Rhodes rising senior Matthew Washnock to actively engage with foreign dignitaries and top academics at the forefront of transatlantic diplomatic, economic, and security policy.

An international studies and political science major, Washnock has seen his classroom studies translated into real-world experience by writing policy briefs, conducting research, preparing press releases, and staffing international conferences. “The eight-week Buckman International Studies Initiative provides me the opportunity to complement professional development with first-hand academic inquiry, cap-stoned by a thirty-page research paper,” says Washnock. 

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting better understanding and cooperation between North America and Europe on transatlantic and global issues. 

“This internship has placed me at the center of interstate policy and demanded that I frame transatlantic challenges with a wider and more empathetic lens,” says Washnock. “Living and working in Warsaw, I have become more mindful of how a state’s history, collective memory, and culture can shape its public policy, foreign interests, and world view. This has helped me grow as a student of international studies by paying better attention to underlying variables and cultural nuances when evaluating the decisions of state and sub-state actors...Poland is a parable of the power of resilience and a success story in the community of former Soviet states. There is so much to learn, and I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work in such a fascinating place.” 

In the spring of 2013, Washnock was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor society open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students currently enrolled in programs of political science. He also has served as associate editor ofModus Vivendi, Rhodes’ international relations journal.

After graduation, Washnock plans to pursue an advanced degree in security studies or public policy with the intent of working for a university or in public service. “However, the world has a way of surprising us, and with a liberal arts education I could end up almost anywhere.” He adds his dream job would be to one day serve as a college president.

A resident of Greer, S.C., Washnock is a graduate of Greenville Senior High School.