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Tamika Monique Jones

April 14, 2014


Professor Metzler
Internship Analysis Paper
One word to describe the organizational culture at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City,
Mexico would be fast pace. Not only does it have a huge responsibility in the third largest
city in the world, but it also is responsible for managing its nine consulates throughout
the country of Mexico. I was initially intimidated and nervous before arriving at the
Embassy, understanding the amount of responsibility the U.S. Embassy had, specifically
in the Office of the Ambassador. I had imagined the organization to be very stressful and
strict; however these perceptions proved to be wrong throughout the duration of my
internship as I became acclimated within the culture. My co-workers were very warm and
welcoming and were eager to help me. Our productivity was a result of the fast-pace
environement, which strengthened the teamwork between co-workers. The need for
effective communication was crucial in the Executive Office in order to meet pertinent
deadlines. Any small mistake could turn into a bigger one for the whole country of
Mexico and the United States.
The Executive Office constantly had a high demand for many things, whether it were
clearances, approvals, meetings, signed letters, trips etc. As an intern, I had to pay
extreme attention to detail, as I was responsible for many task. I was the primary back-up
note taker at the senior officials weekly meetings. Afterwards, I edited the notes by
adding any missing information and proofreading the notes before it was sent to the
Deputy Chief of Mission for her approval. Afterwards she would send it to everyone who

was present at the meeting for their information. Having a keen ear in meetings was a
key attribute for me because it would help me gather information that the main note taker
did not write down. Because of my attention detail, I received several compliments for
filling in information that the note taker missed and adding and/or finding the correct
information. It was not until I began taking notes until I realized the importance of being
a note taker in senior officials meeting and the amount of responsibility a note taker has
in their hands, literally speaking. Attention to detail also was important when it came to
managing hundreds of emails daily. Skipping over one email or missing it could prevent
accomplishing a very important task. Managing hundreds of emails in a day was new to
me, and it was a new skill that I had to develop. Not only did I have to manage emails,
but I also had to research email archives back from 2013 to help diminish unorganized
stacks of paper or Executive Taskers.
Executive Taskers, or memos, was really when I had the opportunity to use my
Spanish skills as the majority of them were in written in Spanish. It was my duty as an
intern to send out the memos on behalf of the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission.
I needed to not only have attention to detail, but I also needed to have proficiency in
reading in Spanish to fully understand the content. More importantly, I needed to have the
ability to make decisions, specifically when I had to set reasonable deadlines for different
departments. One of the most important jobs I had an intern was to develop a Standard
Operating Procedure (SOP) to better manage and track the Executive Taskers form start
to finish. I implemented a Tickler file so that they can have an organized way of finding
the paper version of each Executive Tasker. To correspond with the paper management
system, I created a shared electronic calendar so that the Staff Aides can visually see

which Executive Taskers are do daily weekly, and monthly. This was definitely a big
accomplishment for me having had no previous experience in doing this. Being able to
add this skill on my resume really shows my ability to adapt and think critically in a fast
pace environment, especially in a short period of time.
Developing a SOP is difficult because the creator has to be in environment long
enough to know what works and what doesn't. It literally took trial and error runs in order
to successfully develop a reasonable standard operating procedure. Working in a short
time period became the norm. One of my duties as an intern was to put together a
PowerPoint for the Committee of Foreign Relations meeting in which I only had 2 hours
to put together. I also was in charge of combining Mexico cities cables as apart of the
Ambassador Waynes end of year project.
My supervision was the opposite of micromanagement in that it was very laid back.
Before my arrival at the embassy, I expected to be micromanaged since I was an intern
not having had a lot of previous experience. I was surprised to find that my co-workers
were laid back in terms of managing me, and allowed me to independently. There was a
sort of trust that they had in me. They were not micromanaging me to see if I was going
to complete my duties because it was almost expected that I going to finish them at the
time allotted. This type of management allowed me to mature as an employee and a
person by being able to think independently and to make independent decisions without
constantly seeking assistance. I was able to get what I wanted out of the internship by
working independently.
My interaction with one of the Staff Aides really helped me in solving problems and
making independent decisions. His type of leadership style was different for me as he was

the kind of go figure it out yourself first, and then if you need further help then come
seek me type of attitude. He also really helped me in terms of following directions, as he
would say something only once. Through my positive interactions between my coworkers, it helped foster a positive learning environment for me and for the entire office,
and as a result the positive energy dissiminated to other agencies within the embassy.
I have found to be true that some things in life one does not understand, but
eventually it will all make sense. When I was told I was responsible for developing a
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), I did not see at the moment what I would gain from
it until it clicked. Since I am currently pursuing a minor in Marketing and a degree in
Business Spanish, developing an SOP is actually directly applicable to those areas study.
Realizing this early in my internship is what really gave me the motivation I needed to
put a lot of effort into making this project successful and worthwhile for my knowledge.
During my internship, I found that I was able to apply skills I gained in my Business
Spanish class directly to my job in managing the Executive Taskers, as I had to mentally
translate several documents to fully understand the content of each memo. It was exciting
to actually apply a skill I learned in class to a real world situation. My Business Spanish
class taught me information about each country such the form of money, the system of
government, the climate, the current president, the capital, a countrys main exports and
imports, and other pertinent information. Having already studied the following about
Mexico, I already had a well-versed understanding about Mexico City and the entire
country before I even arrived.
My Leadership Communication course with Professor Fairhust
taught me how to work with people who have different leadership style

than I do. As I mentioned earlier in one of my reports, there was Staff


Aide who was, at first, very difficult to communicate with. If I was not
clear or articulate in the way I asked a question, the question would
not get answered properly or it would be difficult in trying to get the
answer I wanted. I learned that in order to receive a clear answer, one
must initially present their question in a clear way. I have learned the
importance of choosing my words wisely to avoid misinterpretation. I
also learned how to be a more strategic communicator, and to not be
intimidated to work with people who have difficult communication
styles. It was really enlightening to see how course work could be
applied in a real word setting. What really helped me work
cooperatively with this particular Staff Aide was the material I learned
from this class and applying it to a particular situation. My Leadership
Communication class taught the skill of framing a situation as a
strategic communicator and the power speakers have to do so. Once I
applied the material to a situation, I found it a little bit easier to
engage in effective communication to achieve a goal. After having this
internship, I think it would be instrumental to have scenarios in which
people could verbally practice how they would handle each situation,
and the proper way to effectively communicate in certain situations
without damaging a relationship or any further communication with a
person.

After finishing my internship, I would definitely say that my Media


and Identity class taught by Dr. Banjo was helpful. The Media and
Identity class taught me to think critically and outside of the box. After
shadowing the Pubic Affairs Section (PAS) at the embassy, and
attending several meeting with the Ambassador, I learned the
importance of the medias role in the government. Now that we are
living in a generation in which social media is the major way in which
people get their news or other information, the PAS had to be effective
communicators in what type of information they were going to relay on
twitter, Facebook, or with Mexican officials. Any miscommunication
between the Ambassador and PAS could hurt our relationship with
Mexico. Words are crucial in journalism and making sure they are not
misinterpreted is a critical skill in communicating with the rest of the
world. With the embassy being bilingual is equally important that the
content is not misinterpreted and the message is presented accurately.
My Media and Identity course, really taught me the importance of
looking at two sides of a story and then making my own decision. More
importantly, this class taught me about thematic and episodic framing,
which is evaluating situations on a personal and/or a government level.
My Nonverbal Communication course, taught by Professor Griffin, was really helpful
in this internship. Although the Interpersonal Communication class he teaches is
applicable, I would say nonverbal was more important in that it speaks louder than verbal
communication. The way in which one dresses is an artifact, and communicates a lot

about a person. The fact that fifty plus people stood up when the Ambassador walked in a
room communicates ones status. The way in which people greet you, whether it is with a
smile, hug, or kiss on the cheek shows the type of relationship a person has with one
another. My nonverbal class taught me to be more observant of my surroundings because
not all information was communicated to me verbally. I learned that those who attended
the daily meeting, Press Brief, with the Ambassador wore a blazer. When I did not wear
my blazer, I felt like the oddball, or that I was not properly dressed because the majority
of people were communicating that this is the attire for this particular type of meeting. It
was not until later in the internship, when one of the Staff Aides indirectly mentioned that
wearing a blazer in Press Brief is expected. Nonverbal communication played a critical
part in how I conducted myself in a professional environment.
My internship site was ideal for someone like me double majoring in Spanish and
Communication. I literally had the best of both worlds in that I was working in a United
States Embassy, in which there was an American culture all while living in a Spanish
speaking country. Working with Americans and Mexicans was a way for me to immerse
myself in the Mexican culture but still remain connected with my American Culture. It
was the weirdest feeling, but it was great feeling to live in two cultures. A perfect
example would be the embassy observing both Mexican and American holidays. I am
thankful that the U.S. Department of State offers internships for students domestically
and internationally. It was an honor to know that they actually considered what I wrote in
my statement of interest on my job application stating that I wanted to work in the
Western Hemisphere. It is even more of an honor to know that the Office of the
Ambassador personally chose me out of the many applicants who applied to be their

primary intern. Although some may look at this internship being unpaid a weakness, I
would refute that by highlighting the skills and the experiences as being priceless and that
I got to learn them for free as a volunteer willing to learn. If I had to take another unpaid
internship at another embassy I would do t in a heartbeat because it is more a selfless act
in that it is a form of public service. It feels good knowing that I am learning valuable
skills all while serving my country all while making a positive impact that will help build
better relations with another country. Though my experience at the embassy and as an
intern, I really enjoyed how they treated new employees. If there are new employees,
they have welcoming parties ad they are leaving they have farewell parties, and if it is
your birthday they have celebrations. The community liaison office at the embassy is
what gave me a different view of Mexico outside of the embassy as I engaged in several
of there trips t different parts of Mexico which really broadened my horizons beyond the
work environment. The fact that I was able to volunteer at the Benjamin Franklin Library
that the embassy owned allowed me to engage more with people, which is the main
reason why I chose my communication degree. I also got a chance to volunteer for a
baseball clinic for at risk youth sponsored by Public Affairs Section created. The
Embassy was full of opportunities and I tried my best to take advantage of everything
they had to offer in the time period I was there. The biggest lesson that I have learned is
the importance of taking risk, as for me would be taking an unpaid internship. If I tuned
down this internship I would not be able to talk about the many the places I have seen,
valuable skills I have gained, and the amazing people I have met. More importantly, if I
did not have this internship I do o think that I would have been offered a job to work at
the FBI Headquarters. I feel that making sacrificing will beneficial for the future and

shows others that one willing to invest in themselves and their future by partaking in
unpaid internships and more importantly being a student in college.