Emma Persad, who graduated from Clearwater Secondary School four years ago, has been awarded two international internships this summer, including one for three months with the United Nations in Geneva.
According to information from the Inside TRU website, Persad has just completed her honors degree in cellular, molecular and microbial biology at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
“Ever since I toured the UN headquarters when I was on a Rotary Youth Exchange, I knew I wanted to combine my interest in the medical field and helping people, with international policy,” Persad is quoted as saying.
Persad’s first internship is with the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC), a global not-for-profit organization that fosters engagement and skill development for youth. AIESEC is also an affiliate of the UN, as a partner of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
“My position with AIESEC is assisting with language skills (English and French) in the context of refugee integration. It will include helping refugees with cover letters and resumés,” said Persad, who will be with the organization for six weeks.
Persad became interested in refugees’ challenges through her work with the TRU chapter of World University Service Canada (which she co-founded). WUSC-TRU is currently championing for funds to support a TRU student refugee initiative.
On June 1, Persad will switch gears (and daily commuter trains), as she begins her three-month post at the UN, which grants just 250 internships to over 3,000 applicants worldwide. As an intern in Public Information for theUN Environmental Program (UNEP), she will work on communications related to developing countries’ sustainability initiatives.
“I am very interested in international relations, specifically in the health field. Although my UN internship is in communications, it will still expose me to international policy and how organizations like the UN operate.”
And she is no stranger to Europe. “I love Switzerland—I spent a semester there with the TRU Study Abroad program. It’s also a major center for international organizations and is ultimately where I see myself working after medical school,” noted Persad.
Persad also knows a thing or two about the UN. In the last two years, she has attended four Model UN Conferences in Zurich, Brussels, Paris and Moscow. Each conference—hosted in mock UN style—sees several hundred delegates debate assigned topics as a representative of an assigned country. Her presentation on Slovenia and International Security took top honors at the 800-delegate Paris conference.
Following a brief break this September, Persad will begin medical school at the University of Central Lancashire in England. She plans to intersperse her five-year medical-surgical program with further international opportunities.
“Next summer I hope to volunteer abroad in South America, and after that, complete an internship or two with the World Health Organization,” she said.