A Summer Well Spent – Széll Kálmán Fellows Make Their Mark in DC

Ilona Schumicky, Noémi Pálfalvi, and Márton Hegedüs, this year’s first batch of Széll Kálmán Fellows really made us proud this summer. They have gone above and beyond to excel in their studies, at their internships and to spread some Hungarian cheer among their peers. Here’s a short recap about their action-packed summer, and their two month TFAS internship programs.

Széll Kálmán Fellows Ilona Schumicky, Noémi Pálfalvi and Márton Hegedüs on Graduation Day

Ilona Schumicky interned at the Media Research Center’s CNS news division while attending the Economic and Public Policy track with TFAS with ethics and leadership electives. In two short months, Ilona wrote more than two dozen articles on a wide array of topics ranging from the State Department’s new Unalienable Rights Commission to Brexit and big tech companies use of private data. 

Selfie with Kossuth in the Capitol

Spending most of her week in a competitive environment with journalist peers, the internship gave Ilona a great opportunity to gain insight into how American democracy and politics work, and a better understanding of American ways of thinking. She will return to Hungary with many new skills, such as finding and pitching stories, researching, and writing top-click articles. Working on the Hill with a media pass sometimes meant lunching with Brent Bozell, the founder of the Media Research Center, attending press conferences with Nancy Pelosi, or finding herself in an elevator with Elizabeth Warren. She also enjoyed the HIF organized reading seminars, experiencing the Fourth of July in Washington, and seeing President Trump in person. 

“It was an amazing experience both personally and professionally. I was happy to be here and get an insight on American politics, which I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and also be able to do some meaningful work.” – Ilona Schumicky

Noémi Pálfalvi spent eight weeks at the Religious Freedom Institute, where she learned about the importance of religious liberty in the US and around the world. This internship was particularly important to her on a personal and professional level since she plans on pursuing a career working on this issue.

Noémi finding her favorite reading spot on the Mall

Among many other things, Noémi often attended briefings and hearings in the House and the Senate and helped with the preparations of a high-level ministerial meeting on Protecting Vulnerable Religious and Ethnic Minorities, one of the highlights of the summer. She particularly appreciated the her supervisors guided her on how to become a better person by sticking to her own religious beliefs and simultaneously being involved in politics. 

“I am very happy I had this experience before moving to China, because it emphasized the fact that no matter what people say about economic growth, trade relations, etc., the freedom of individuals and communities is the most important.” – Noémi Pálfalvi

Last but not least, Márton Hegedüs spent his summer interning at Rumble Up, the biggest peer-to-peer texting platform and one of the most dynamically developing technology startups in the US. Márton emphasized how important it was that Rumble Up treated him as an important, full-time employee from his first day, an attitude which inspired him to do his best and deliver great work. Márton said he enjoyed getting to know other fellows, visiting the Hungarian Embassy, and connecting with both Hungarians and Americans this summer. 

Márton challenging Prof. Ball at our Econ Workshop

“Always be open towards everyone, but save some time each week to think through what you’ve experienced.” – Márton Hegedüs

He took an elective course in Ethical Leadership, where he learned how to manage his time and prioritize throughout his intense two months in DC and ended up winning this summer’s George Peabody Award for Excellence in Ethics and Leadership upon graduation. 

We are so proud of these three outstanding young Hungarians who excelled during this summer and upon their return, are now off to their next challenge!

Thanks to our partner, The Fund for American Studies for this unparalleled educational opportunity.