The same place; a new face

Greetings, salutations, willkomen, bienvenue, hello, howdy, &c.

In agreeing to write for this blog, I look forward to the chance because it will offer the possibility of introspection about this internship, and also about this internship in comparison with others I have worked over the years at AU.  My name is Michael A. Repas, I am a BA/MA student, and I commenced from AU undergraduate coursework this past May.  My undergraduate education was a double major in International Relations and Philosophy, with an attached minor in Computer Science.  I simultaneously worked on, and am continuing to pursue, a degree from the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs (EPGA) graduate program.  It is interdisciplinary, like the rest of my education, and this theme will be mirrored in my choice of internship, as well as my duties therein.  The specific concentration I am pursuing within the EPGA program is also worth noting: it is entitled “The Ethics of Development,” and this will also have bearing on my choice of workplace.  It is especially important for me, as this is my MA Internship, which in the Philosophy department functions as an alternative to doing a traditional MA Thesis (it still involves a substantive bit of writing, just with the practical experiences of an internship guiding the paper).

And so, having explained all sorts of academic reasoning for the current internship position I hold, allow me to actually introduce it.  I work at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and specifically I work on the Knowledge Network.  ICMA is a non-profit involved in seeking to ensure professionalism and ethical conduct in local government managers, while also promoting the council-manager form of local government.  We additionally have an International Development arm, which seeks to do its work within a framework of successful local government provision of basic services as necessary to democracy.  Within all of these different arms and teams and approaches of ICMA, there is our new (as of May 2010) website, which features something we call the Knowledge Network (KN).  Put simply, the KN is a synthesis of Facebook and Wikipedia, as it seeks to offer a a way for members of ICMA (who are local government managers and employees) to have a profile while also being able to literally ask Questions of each other, therein openly sharing what has and has not worked in the profession for them.  As a side-note, working on this project has been fascinating for me, as my undergraduate thesis, Open Source Ethics, presented a theoretical and philosophical system for approaching the ethical problems in the world that called for an open and frank discussion of what has and has not worked, which is exactly what the Knowledge Network has implemented on a profession-specific basis.  My specific job is hard to define, in that I end up doing a very wide variety of tasks during the course of any given workday, ranging from assisting with those Questions previously mentioned, to helping with software issues, to helping produce content for the website  (including published reports, but that is for a later blog post).  I will, as the semester continues, explain more about what I do and what makes an internship at ICMA distinctive, and I certainly hope to be entertaining and informative in the process (whether intentional, or otherwise)!