Week 7:
Spies and Hurricanes


Cornell Fellow in Political Science

Global Zero | Washington, D.C.

September 19, 2018

This past week has been filled with conducting target candidate research and constantly refreshing my weather app to see if Hurricane Florence was going to turn north towards the DC area, luckily, we did not experience any bad weather in the area. Between those two main occupants of my time, I have gotten to take a stab at several projects in the office (it’s like they trust me or something??), go to the Spy Museum, and even go on a grad school visit!

Lunch with my pal, Asher.

One of the projects that I have gotten to work on this past week dealt with uploading content to the Beyond the Bomb website. Although this is a relatively simple task, the way in which the content is presented matters quite a bit in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). Thanks to working in Cornell’s marketing department, I knew all about SEO and metadata. SEO assists with maximizing the number of visitors who will look at your website by presenting your content in a way that will make it appear highest on the list of results from a search engine. Extra steps such as including a thumbnail photo, block quotes, or a small blurb from the article that will appear when shared to Twitter or Facebook goes a long way. I was pretty proud of myself when the digital director was talking about these things and I knew exactly what he meant, especially because I am NOT a technologically skilled person by any means.

This week I also had the chance to sit down with Global Zero/ Beyond the Bomb’s Operations Assistant, Enrico. I got to learn about his background and what has led to him to be a staple team member in the office. Being able to interview members of the office has been something that I have really enjoyed while being here. Everyone in our office has a different reason for showing up every day and doing the work that they do. It is inspiring to me that regardless of background or their initial career aspirations, they find value and purpose to the work that they do in our office.

Selfie with Rico and fellow Cornellian, Jessica.

During my free time, I got to go to the Spy Museum and catch up with my aunt, eat a mountain of spaghetti, and go to a graduate school open house that had a master’s program that I was interested in. Ironically, the main building for the Institute of World Politics was the KGB headquarters building before the dissolution of the Soviet State in the early 90’s. My entire day was spy themed, complete with secret passage ways and hidden vaults, both at the museum and the IWP.

Got to have dinner with my aunt and took a really photogenic selfie.
The Spy Museum is a must see!

Before my internship, I was dead set on pursuing law school, but the longer that I have been here, I have quickly realized that might not be the path I want to take in life. Something that I have learned while being here is that one rarely sets out on one path and ends up where they initially intended to go. Much of this is due to personal growth and finding what work you value and are most useful doing. I am really grateful to have the chance to experience personal growth and discover which topic fields I find most meaningful. Since I had the chance to have this self-discovery, I am really glad I took the time to visit the IWP. The IWP offers masters, doctoral, and certificate programs focusing on topics such as national and international affairs, national security, statecraft, and strategic intelligence, all of which I find to be extremely fascinating.

It is crazy to think that my internship with Global Zero/ Beyond the Bomb comes to an end in just one week! I am excited to go home to see friends and finish up my senior year on the hilltop, but I will be sad to leave this city that I have grown to love.

Isabel Light '19

Isabel is a politics major from Mount Vernon, Iowa.