Commercial Service Chicago Interns' Bios and Areas of Interest are below for your reference. If you would like to contact a current or former intern and ask about their experience working in our office, please mention in cover letter, we will be happy to provide their contact information.

Summer 2014

Lauren Hackler

“I am a rising senior at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC majoring in Economics with minors in French and International Studies.  I spent this past fall semester in La Rochelle, France studying in the University of La Rochelle’s French Language Immersion Program with other students from around the world.  Living with a host family, traveling Europe, and forming relationships with many other foreign students strengthened my interest in international business and international relations as well as worldwide economic development.  I pursued an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service to gain experience pertaining to foreign trade, international sales, and business development as well as learn more about the United States’ role in export promotion and its global impact.  As a Chicagoland native, I appreciate the opportunity an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service provides me to meet business leaders from Illinois based companies and learn about the process to expand their international influence.”

Fall 2012

Haley Pitonyak

Currently I am a Junior at DePaul University, majoring in Political Science with a particular interest in International politics and relations. Recently, I have had some political interning experience as I have done work for a local Chicago Alderman. In the future I hope to take my public assistance even further. That hope is a large part of the reason I am at DePaul to study Political Science, I anticipate that it will lead me down a path of assisting the general population. Being a student at DePaul has also given me the opportunity to explore diversity, diverse opinions, ideals, religious backgrounds, national backgrounds and so much more. My interest in outreach, government, and civic justice has stemmed from my previous experiences and has largely informed my decisions thus far. It has led me to study Political Science and to try and pursue a further future in the government arena, and I personally believe that this opportunity with the Chicago office can provide me with a platform for my ambitions.

Summer/Fall 2012

Mina Yu

I am currently a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Asian Studies and Political Science. Given my interest in international affairs and the rapidly globalizing world market, I pursued an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service in order to better understand the details of international trade by gaining hands-on, practical knowledge. It is my ambition that through the experiences I gain while interning for the U.S. Commercial Service, I will be able to expand my opportunities to study abroad and hopefully, work abroad as well.  I expect with much confidence that the experience I gain here in the Chicago office will be one that is invaluable for both my education and future.

Spring/Summer 2012

Felicia Burkes

I am a graduate student in the Environmental Management & Sustainability program at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  I hold a BS degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.  While an undergraduate, I conducted environmental research overseas at Egerton University in Njoro, Kenya. I have studied Spanish and French. As an intern, I assist international trade specialists with compiling client data, reviewing export trends and meeting key performance goals. I intend to learn how to conduct export market research, foster balanced relationships for domestic and foreign businesses while gaining an understanding of international trade.

Winter 2011/Spring 2012

Tyler Duff

I am currently a senior at Central College, a small liberal arts college located in Pella, Iowa. I am majoring in International Studies with two minors in Economics and Philosophy. This semester I am enrolled with Chicago Semester, a small school program designed to provide students with an urban living and learning experience co-owned by my school. Two years ago I studied abroad in the city of Leiden, the Netherlands. I learned more than I ever could have expected there; not only about the Netherlands and Europe, but about America as well. I was surprised how interconnected Western Europe is with America, both economically and culturally. While I have always been interested in the world in general, my time in the Netherlands encouraged me to deepen my knowledge of world cultures and affairs. It is my fervent hope that I will discover much about international trade and the navigation of global markets during my internship with the U.S. Commercial Service. After this semester I plan to pursue an MS in Global Management at Thunderbird University.

Emily Ziethen

I am currently a senior at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in International Studies and French Language and Literature, along with a minor in Economics. I was given the wonderful opportunity last year to study abroad for the entire academic year in Nantes, France. My experience living with a host family, taking classes at the local university, and experiencing a culture different from my own for 8 months truly opened up my eyes to the world around me. I have always been inclined towards the international field, but this experience furthered my passion and drives to become a part of it. I pursued an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service in order to deepen my knowledge of international business, as well as my understanding of the global markets and the integral role the United States plays within this field. I am excited to say that this experience will give me the tools necessary to navigate the rapidly changing markets that the United States and the international community will be facing in the future. After graduation I plan on using the valuable knowledge gained at this position and pursuing a Master’s degree in International Development.

Fall/Winter 2011

Molly Burns

I am currently a senior at Loyola University Chicago, with a major in International Studies and minors in French Language and Literature and in Asian Studies. I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad last year in Rome, Italy and Beijing, China. These experiences taught me the importance of international trade. Following my time abroad, I pursued this internship so as to better understand international markets, how American businesses export abroad, the challenges they face, and the U.S. approach to increasing exports in the global economy. I hope to use my experiences with the Commercial Service to one day work in international publishing.

Fall 2010/Spring 2011

Carolyn Meyer

I am currently a Master’s student in International Relations at the American Graduate School in Paris with areas of concentration in Africa, agriculture and international trade. I am originally from the Chicago area and completed my undergraduate career at DePaul University in 2008. I have always been interested in languages and cultures but my passion for international affairs began when I studied abroad in Morocco. Since then, I have lived in France and Spain, travelled throughout Europe and North Africa, developed fluency in French and studied Spanish and Arabic. After taking courses in international economics I began to really understand the global significance of trade and the challenges associated with it. I intend, through this internship, to gain a deeper understanding of the global market and the role of U.S. businesses.

Amanda Lawrence

My experience as an intern for the U.S. Commercial Service has been invaluable. As an Economics and International Studies double major with a minor in International Business, I am able to apply the skills learned in the classroom directly to my internship work. I am always excited to come to work and learn more about different cultures, unique products and services, and issues concerning international trade from businesses and colleagues working overseas.  From helping plan trade shows and matchmaking events to attending export lectures and meeting with potential exporting clients, the diverse experience I have gained through this internship has provided me with a well rounded understanding of the international trade environment. My interest in international affairs was fostered by my experience studying and later interning in Budapest, Hungary. After graduation, I plan to serve in the Peace Corps’ Business Advising program. I know the skills I have developed through this internship will translate as value-adds to any future career opportunity.

Spring/Summer 2010

Amanda Hassett
I am a senior at DePaul University and an Economics and French double major. By studying abroad in France my sophomore year I really developed a passion for foreign relations and international business. I pursued an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service so I could experience the behind the scenes workings of international trade. The knowledge I have gained during this internship is sure to benefit me far past graduation. In the future I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in International Economics and I will hopefully end up working and living abroad.

Fall 2009

John Schaftenaar

I am a senior about to graduate from Hope College in Holland, MI with a degree in Management and a minor in Communication. Last May I had the opportunity to study abroad in London with other business students from my school, and I became very interested in international business. After traveling around Europe for a few weeks, I returned home and was fatefully introduced to the U.S. Commercial Service by the Chicago Semester program. I jumped at this opportunity to get internship experience working with international trade. In a globalizing economy, especially one battling a recession, the noble cause of helping small American companies expand their business internationally is something I believe in and am very excited to be a part of. I hope to pursue my interest in international trade and eventually return to school to get my masters degree.

Spring/Summer 2009

Krista Linares
I am a junior at DePaul University, pursuing a double major in Economics and Spanish as well as a minor in International Politics. Over the course of my studies I have developed a particular interest in the international economy and the increasing dependence of individual countries' economies on one another. An internship with U.S. Commercial Service allows me to explore this interest in perhaps the most direct way possible, by working closely with international trade. Through this internship I hope to gain a more refined understanding of markets both inside the U.S. and abroad, in order to later pursue a career in the field of international economics. After this summer I'll be pursuing my studies even further in Madrid, Spain and hope to be able to apply some of what I have learned at U.S. Commercial Service to my studies there.

Alan Waddell
I am currently a graduate student in a program focusing on International Commerce. I became interested in an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service after taking a class on international trade policy and practice which exposed the crucial elements of trade debates and highlighted the importance of trade promotion. Consequently, a summer internship with the Commercial Service offers an ideal opportunity to encounter trade promotion efforts from within the United States as well as better understand the economic and political dynamics of our international trading partners. Additionally, I look forward to taking advantage of the diverse business and cultural activities available on a daily basis in the city of Chicago. After this experience, and completion of graduate studies, I hope to secure a professional position which utilizes my interest and focus on international affairs.   

Robert Madeja
I am a current senior at Loyola University Chicago double majoring in Finance and Economics with a minor in Asian Studies. Finance has always been something I have been passionate about because it is ultimately what drives commerce, and of course economics helps to understand markets and the way they work.  The U.S. Commercial Service internship appealed to me because I wanted to be on the forefront of international trade.  I wanted to understand how the US Government accomplishes the task of creating  relationships and trust with the goal of not only improving the lives of Americans, but people of the countries who are the recipients of the product or service that is exported.  I have always been interested in the world and its people, but a study abroad trip to Beijing, China in the Fall of 2007 fueled this interest even more. After graduation I hope to go into financial planning or consulting for a multi-national company. Down the road I would like to start my own consulting firm, helping firms to find financing to increase their competitiveness in this rapidly globalizing world. 

Ashley Mothershead
I'm a sophomore with an international business major at Elmhurst College. Originally from Brockway, Montana, I am interested in seeking a career within foreign trade or international affairs. After experiencing international study abroad and travel opportunities in places such as the Caribbean and Western Europe, I became triggered in exploring more careers that would allow me to pursue my passion for this field. I chose an internship with Chicago’s U.S. Commercial Service because it offers amazing opportunities to not only become engaged in the international business environment, but it also assists me in developing a deeper understanding of global markets. By helping companies in their development and exporting objectives, I am given the opportunity to experience real world issues outside of the classroom.  In addition to studying international business, I am also attaining a minor in both the French language and Music. My goals are to continue studying foreign languages and to one day be able to work for an international firm or organization. Also, my plans for finishing my degree include taking advantage of studying abroad in France.

Summer 2008

Aubrey McCullen
I majored in International Relations and French, with a concentration in economics and African studies. I spent a semester in England studying abroad my Freshman year, during which time I was able to travel throughout Europe, including France, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, and the Netherlands. This experience fostered my interest in international affairs and encouraged me to pursue this field as a major. Working with the U.S. Commercial Service—Chicago has been an incredible experience, and every day I look forward to learning more about international trade and communicating with companies and colleagues around the world. This internship has allowed me to participate in an organization that continuously helps thousands of Americans promote and nurture their businesses domestically and abroad. After graduating I anticipate working with a federal agency with similar objectives. I plan to concurrently attend graduate school and continue my study of and experience in international affairs and global trade.

Miles Muellner
I am a senior Business Management major with a Chinese minor. I plan on studying abroad for a semester in Shanghai during the last half of my college career. I am particularly interested in Chinese relations, and try to take advantage of any related opportunities that arise; for example, this past June I attended the Hong Kong- Zhaoqing “Your Winning Formula in China” seminar. After college I plan on starting a career in International Business, hoping to one day start my own company.


Past & Present Interns