(Dated 28th June 2019)
Hi! My name is Shristi and I am interning at the World Bank Headquarters in DC this summer as an Impact Evaluation (IE) intern. I will be working on evaluating the impact of potentially three education related projects that are in Cambodia, Mongolia and Guyana with the Development Economics Research Group (DECRG). As someone who is enthusiastic about learning how to evaluate the outcomes and impact of education development projects and as a firm believer of evidence-based policy making, I feel like the rest of my internship is going to be an incredible experience the way it has been for the past weeks.
The first impressions:
Walking in on the very first day, just like the name, I felt like the entire world was in the Bank. All my apprehensions and expectations of what the Bank would look like and my anticipation for the internship stood around me grandiosely as I walked into the Atrium of the main building.
Just a couple of hours into the bank, I was already intensely aware of what its mission and ideals stood for. From the beautiful building architecture, the pictures and letters engraved on the tall walls to every nook and corner, even the most seemingly minute details reflected the core values of the institution- impact, integrity, respect, teamwork and innovation.
The first week:
The first week of my internship started with 5-day long rigorous training on Managing Successful Impact Evaluations that my supervisor recommended I attend. The training was conducted by Development Impact Evaluation (DIME), an IE unit at the Research Group, and was designed for short-term consultants and staffs who are responsible for managing IE in the field. The objective was to train participants on supervising high-quality surveys, designing electronic survey instruments, managing complex survey data, producing meaningful data analysis and effectively communicating the results to policymakers. The morning sessions consisted of lectures and small group discussions and the afternoons were filled with interactive computer-based lab sessions on STATA, providing hands on opportunity to develop skills in IE. It was also very interesting to meet and listen to the stories of the field coordinators and facilitators and learn about the institution and their work. I had a great first week full of rich and positive experiences and all smiles (not to mention the free lunch coupons).
The second week:
The second week started off with meeting my supervisor Owen Ozier and taking a tour of our department and our office that my co-intern Lingling and I are sharing this summer. He briefed us about how the summer would like for us and gave us some literature review tasks to start off with. After all, to learn how to conduct an impact evaluation, I need to first learn how to review one.
The same week, we had a department lunch meeting at a nearby restaurant, which was a good opportunity to meet and greet people from my department. I also attended the RISE Annual Conference at Center for Global Development. The conference featured panel sessions and themed technical presentations made by researchers and economists and brought together academics and policymakers to discuss issues in improving education systems around the world. I will admit, I did feel intimidated by some of the presentations because of their technicalities. However, to have the opportunity to listen from people whose papers I had only read in classes (M&E, Econ of Ed, and 514) was quite unreal.
And guess, whom I also met at the conference? PT! It was so good to see and catch up with her after a long time. It was her birthday week so after the conference ended, we went out and had a mini- birthday celebration.
Life in D.C.:
If I had to describe D.C. in a word, it would be INCREDIBLE. Out of all the cities I have visited in the U.S. so far, for some reason, the character of D.C. resonated with me the most. I realized it is so much more than just the capital. It’s fun, artsy, clean, decent and free (yes, most of the museums, parks and cultural sites are free here). There is always something or the other happening in this place and one can never run out of activities. I try exploring the city after work and I am always amazed by how much there is to do- outdoor yoga sessions, open park movies nights, farmers market, restaurants, fun activities and more. I am in love with this place and look forward to exploring more of this beautiful treasure.
After two weeks of attending training and conferences (which felt like two days), I am excited to see what the rest of the internship holds for me. It has been great learning new skills and meeting people who have substantial experience and expertise in the field of education development, particularly in research, monitoring and evaluation. Do I see a future here for myself? It’s too early to say. For now, all I know is that I am happy to be a part of the institution and contribute my tiny bit to their mission of making this world free of poverty. Rest, we shall see!