This summer, two Robertson Fellows traveled to Hawaii as interns in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Center. This program, which has partnered with RFG for several years, hosts students from across the United States to work for ten weeks under a combatant command dedicated to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific. Olivia Parker (UMD 2024) worked in the Northeast Asia Policy Division (J51), providing support on several policy issues, military exercises, and large events hosted by the Command. One of her most rewarding experiences was helping prepare the Chiefs of Defense Conference for Korean, Japanese, and American military officials.
Jackson Rice (UCSD 2025) was a research fellow at the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM). The Center is designed to bridge understanding between humanitarian, civilian, and military responders. Jackson was linked with an operational initiative examining the resilience of critical infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region. He compiled a report that assessed energy systems and food security, and made recommendations to enhance resilience.
The program also provided several field trips to experience parts of the military based on the island. Fellows got to board the USS Illinois at Pearl Harbor as well as watch an F-22 Raptor take off and land at Hickam Air Force Base. The first week of the program, the cohort drove up to Schofield Army Base to attempt the Lightning Academy Jungle Obstacle course! After scaling walls and crawling through mud they experienced what jungle mobility training is like for Army students.
After the ten weeks, Jackson had the special opportunity to cap off his internship by participating in the 2023 International Training Workshop for Youth Leadership on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in Taiwan. This workshop invites young leaders to take part in shaping the future of Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response (HADR) by combining information intelligence and real operations. Following the workshop, Jackson will remain in Taipei to complete a Boren Fellowship studying Mandarin at the National Taiwan University. Olivia will finish her second year of graduate study in International Security and Economic Policy at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, while also completing her capstone project with CFE-DM.