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Catholic Identity

Internships & Outcomes

Meghan Novak '25
Megan Novak '25

When Megan Novak '25 declared as an International Studies major, she set a goal of someday interning at the United Nations (U.N.). That dream is coming true this summer, through an internship with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City. 

Novak, a rising senior, knew she was aiming high. She is excited to get started. 

“When I first set my sights on the U.N., I did a lot of research on internships there, and the odds of obtaining one are incredibly small,” said Novak. “I am so grateful for this opportunity.” 

Novak will intern with Sister Isabelle Izika '13, an Emmanuel alum, who is the main Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representative for the SNDdeN at the U.N. 

The SNDdeN NGO office advocates on issues such as poverty eradication, sustainable development, migration, climate change, and women’s rights. Sister Isabelle said the SNDdeN brings valuable firsthand perspective to these discussions with representatives of member nations and other NGOs.

“We carry out advocacy work that draws on the experience of members working in ministries, living and being in a community with people experiencing great vulnerability and poverty,” said Sister Isabelle. “This kind of experience and expertise is very valuable in these conversations.” 

Novak’s studies include a concentration in sustainability and global justice. She’s looking forward to gaining firsthand perspective on how those issues are deliberated at the highest level. 

“I am very interested in gaining hands-on experience to better understand international and global development, as well as sustainability,” said Novak.  “I am looking forward to seeing the day-to-day process of how these world-changing decisions get made.” 

Novak connected with Sister Isabelle earlier this year, when the Emmanuel College Model United Nations Club visited the U.N. headquarters with Associate Professor of Political Science Petros Vamvakas. She said Dr. Vamvakas and Professor of Political Science Lenore Martin played key roles advocating for the internship from there.  

“A great thing about Emmanuel is the small class sizes, which really helps you make connections,” said Novak. “I am fortunate to have professors who believe in me, and I think their assistance made this opportunity possible.”

A group of Emmanuel students at the U.N.
Sister Isabelle Izika ’13 (front row, fourth from left) met with Novak and members of Emmanuel Model United Nations Club earlier this year, during a club visit to the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Originally from upstate New York, Novak came to Emmanuel planning to major in biology. That changed, however, after taking Dr. Vamvakas’ Intro to International Law class. She found the exploration of international dynamics fascinating, and soon looked forward to class each week. Novak followed her interests when it came time to declare a major. 

Looking ahead, Novak plans to attend law school and study either international law or human rights law. Short term, she’s hoping to have a positive impact at the SNDdeN office this summer and build some groundwork for future Saints to have similar opportunities. 

“I hope this provides a future connection for Emmanuel students to work with this organization going forward,” said Novak.  

The SNDdeN are an international Catholic religious congregation, which opened Emmanuel College in 1919 as New England’s first Catholic college for women. The SNDdeN have had an NGO representative at the U.N. since 2002.  

Click here to read more about the SNDdeN and the SNDdeN NGO office.