World Trade Center Arkansas Internship Prepared Alumna for International Career
Since her time at the World Trade Center Arkansas in 2016, Claire Beach has been constantly on the move. She spent the summer of 2017 in Germany, participating in an intensive language program that helped her pass the B1 language exam.
In conjunction with her language program, she received an Honors College research grant to study the tourism economy in the Middle Rhine region. She finished her time at the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2017, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and an additional major in German.
Over the next winter, her dad helped her convert a minivan into a camper. In the first half of 2018, she and a friend drove 40,000 miles, saw 47 states and visited more than 200 national parks and monuments.
In September of 2018 she moved to the United Kingdom where she is currently attending Aston University and completing an M.A. in governance and international policy. She will finish that program next month, after which she will move to Germany and complete a second M.A. in political science in international and European politics at the University of Bamber.
She attributes much of her success to her internship at the World Trade Center Arkansas.
"Personally, the greatest benefit of being a WTCA intern was getting connected with women's issues," she said. "I joined OWIT (the Organization of Women in International Trade) my freshman year of college, before I even thought about being an intern for the WTCA. It was Kelsey Lippard (née Lovewell), the WTCA intern that year, who encouraged me to apply for the position."
Beach says she strongly admires the support that the World Trade Center Arkansas gave to events like the Power of the Purse, organizations such as Organization of Women in International Trade and the Women's Foundation of Arkansas.
"Working closely with Laura James, Denise Simpson, and Denise Thomas and alongside fellow interns like Hannah Pinter and Bruna Romero inspired me to continually reach for the next opportunity," she said.
"Without their encouragement, I would never have successfully run for Director of Membership in the Arkansas OWIT chapter. OWIT also gave me the opportunity to engage with future mentors at the UofA, like Dr. Adriana Rossiter Hofer."
Beach said she met Rossiter Hofer at an OWIT event and has since worked in her department, the Global Engagement Office, at the University of Arkansas under the supervision of Susan Anders.
"Because of the WTC and OWIT, I am still connected to the U of A and Walton College."
Additionally, Beach has kept her membership in the OWIT Virtual Chapter, which is for members who are spread around the globe.
She also believes that her time at the World Trade Center Arkansas helped build a strong foundational knowledge of international trade. Joint events hosted with the university and Walton College brought several distinguished speakers to campus.
On a more local level, working with the Arkansas businesses interested in exporting gave her a good overview of the business world in Arkansas.
"It opened my mind to future opportunities at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and similar organizations," she said.
Beach also pursued a grant writing certificate through Northwest Arkansas Community College because she was exposed to grant writing at the WTCA.
"Helping with the STEP exporting program sparked my interest in grant writing and has helped me in numerous ways," she said. "The skills I learned in the grant writing courses have been helpful in completing my graduate school and scholarship applications to Aston and Bamberg.
"The World Trade Center Arkansas sparked a desire in me to constantly learn and grow. The people I met during my time as an intern have remained fixtures in my life, as mentors, colleagues, and friends."
The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services in addition to providing an immersive internship program for students in global commerce. The Center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.
Denise Thomas, director of external relations, Africa
World Trade Center Arkansas
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