U.S. Capitol, April 2016
U.S. Capitol, April 2016
Architect of the Capitol

Dispatch from D.C.: Sonia Jawaid Shaikh

Four Annenberg doctoral students spent the summer in Washington, D.C., participating in the COMPASS Summer Fellowship Program, which is designed to provide Ph.D. students in Communications and Media Studies with hands-on experience in the development and implementation of communication policy. COMPASS fellows intern for two months in D.C. at government offices or agencies, think tanks, political party or advocacy organizations, or other communication-related public or private sector institutions. Professor Mark Lloyd coordinates the program for Annenberg.

This week, we check in with third year student Sonia Jawaid Shaikh, who spent the summer at the World Bank.


What's your academic concentration? Your areas of interest?

My interests are in research methods, decision making, resource scarcity/abundance, and information.

Where did you intern this summer?

I interned at the World Bank.

What were your responsibilities there?

There were a couple of research projects that I undertook at the Bank. The first involved looking into survey research on global media: what are some of its issues and what are the major findings on the state of global media? The second project involved doing case studies on how brand reputation management concerns and initiatives merge with development. I studied Nestlé's micro-nutrient fortification program in Africa and retailer blocs that emerged in the aftermath of a garment factory disaster in Bangladesh.

What did a normal day at your internship look like?

My time at the Bank was a mesh of school and office lifestyles. From 9 to 5, I would be reading for research as well as on Bank projects that relate to my areas of interest, attending seminars, interviewing people, and writing.

Did you have a chance to see and do other things in D.C.?

Yes! My favorite part was a tour of the Capitol building and being part of 4th of July celebrations at the Capitol building steps--all thanks to a wonderful housemate.

How do you think your experience in the COMPASS program this summer will impact the work you're doing in the doctoral program?

I think an important part of doctoral training is to be able to fuse learning from various areas to develop some perspective--only to change that perspective as more information/evidence comes in. I learned so much from the COMPASS seminars, the speakers, and my time at the Bank--but I also discarded some of my thinking/training/ideas. This, I am hoping can be translated into something meaningful for my own work.

I also want to take the opportunity here and thank Professors Mark Lloyd and Victor Pickard (from Annenberg Penn) for their mentoring and directing of the COMPASS program! They have been a great support and wonderful teachers.

Any advice for other students who might be interested in participating in COMPASS in the future?

1. D.C. Metro is not reliable.
2. The weather is not reliable either.
3. Expect to unlearn.