After completing her graduation requirements a semester early, Katie Morris ‘18, double major in Global Studies and Journalism at Lehigh University, began working as an intern for the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).
“At Lehigh not only did I learn how to be a successful student, but I became a well-rounded and better person,” said Morris.
DPI was established in 1946 to “to promote global awareness and understanding of the work of the United Nations,” and is partnered with over 1,500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Lehigh being one of them. DPI works alongside these NGOs and provides access to exclusive UN events and briefings.
As an intern, Morris is responsible for coordinating briefings by scheduling speakers, creating promotional materials and programs, ensuring everything remains on schedule and issuing access passes to the UN.
Aside from her usual duties as a DPI intern, Morris has been assisting with the Youth Representative Program. A committee of youth representatives meets each week to discuss and plan events related to youth participation at the UN.
“DPI gives us a lot of responsibilities, more so than any other internship I’ve had before,” Morris said. Previously, she had interned at Save the Children US and with the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
At the UN, Morris has had some unprecedented experiences meeting high-ranking officials.
A few weeks ago, she was assigned to volunteer at an event run by the mission of South Korea. She had no idea that the Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, would be in attendance.
“Seeing the Secretary-General be only a few feet away from me has definitely been a highlight of my internship so far,” Morris said.
Morris credited her success to her Lehigh education. She praised the faculty did an excellent job preparing her for the real world, and her challenging coursework made her feel comfortable for when she has been given critical tasks for her internship.
“As a Global Studies major, I learned to write well and perform research,” Morris said. “And presenting my research is a big part of what I do now.”
Morris is often asked to develop a list of speakers who should be extended an invitation to speak at a briefing or event. Recently, she needed to identify potential speakers for a Holocaust event to pitch to her boss.
“Making the lists takes a lot of research and knowing what would work best,” she said.
Throughout her time at Lehigh, Morris undertook the position of Social Media Coordinator for the Global Studies Program. She said she learned how to strengthen her interpersonal and social skills by interviewing people and talking to professors.
“Especially at DPI, it’s really important to be able to talk to people,” Morris said. “We always have people coming in and asking us a variety of questions and you need to be able to answer them.”
Morris said she is grateful for the skills she acquired at Lehigh for equipping her for these responsibilities.
Reflecting on her time at Lehigh, Morris felt like she gained an immense amount of wisdom. “I feel like I became smart, aside from book smart,” she said.
Morris believed that her junior year of college was when everything started to fall into place. “I started to feel really confident and sure of my actions, and that’s important for when I work and to be successful,” she said.
Morris hopes to continue her success at the UN, but is also keeping every option open as she said she loves getting a feel for each organization.
“This has been the ultimate learning experience and I hope to continue to grow from it in the coming months,” Morris said.