Crystal Lee is pursuing a Master of Arts in Global Communication. Crystal is currently a Public Information Intern at the United Nations’ Department of Peace Operations. Previously, she was a Community Engagement Intern at the International Rescue Committee, where she contributed to the organization’s office expansion plan and researched the role of the media in generating propaganda and instigating violence through disinformation during the election period. Crystal graduated from Pepperdine University in 2020, double majoring in International Management and Political Science, with a minor in French.
What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you pick the Elliott School?
I graduated with a double major in Political Science and International Management. After several internships and a year of working, it has become clear to me that I would like to pursue a career in communication within the international arena. So Global Communication at Elliott School is the perfect choice for me!
What has been your favorite course at the Elliott School so far and why?
Taiwan: Internal Development and Foreign Policy with Dr. John Tai has been my favorite course thus far! I took this class as an elective so that I could learn more about where my parents are from and the political landscape there. I really enjoyed the reading and discussions in class. My professor was super helpful and attentive.
Where do you currently work or intern and how does it fit in with your career goals?
I am interning at UN Peacekeeping’s Strategic Communications Section. In particular, I support the
Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, and the UN Peacekeeping’s response to misconduct. My experience has been rewarding and has provided me with an opportunity to better understand how international organizations function. It has also helped me brush up my French since most of our peacekeeping missions are in francophone countries. I believe this internship experience will help me transition into a career in strategic communications.
Think of where you were when you applied to the Elliott School. What advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now, as a student?
Take your time to adjust to being a student again. It was not easy to re-enter graduate school after working for a year. You are a student 24/7, there is no “downtime.” That being said, you don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to be a full-time student with a full-time job. Do what is best for you.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far at the Elliott School?
It’s not just about your grades. Make connections with your classmates and your professors! You never know what it might lead to. Go to different events organized by Elliott or other think tanks!
What is your favorite country that you’ve visited and why?
I went to Cuba in March 2020 right before the lockdown. It’s been one of my favorite countries. It was so different than anywhere else. Since it was almost impossible to access the internet, I had the chance to really immerse myself in the culture and make meaningful interactions with people.
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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.