Penn Global Week Approaching Global Issues from a Policy Perspective: Julia Ciocca
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January 30, 2021
Alice Krainock | Perry World House
Every year, Perry World House celebrates Penn Global Week, spotlighting the many ways in which the University is engaging globally – from helping our students to pursue internships abroad, to developing new ideas about the world’s biggest challenges.
This year, Penn Global Week is focusing on the people who work to broaden and deepen the University’s connections across the world and help to bring meaningful global experiences to our students and faculty. One of those people is our Research Fellow, Julia Ciocca.
When Ciocca joined our staff last fall after graduating from Penn with a B.A. in Political Science and Russian and Eastern European Studies, she was already very familiar with Perry World House. Ciocca had already spent three years with us in the World House Student Fellow (WHSF) program, which is aimed at undergraduate students from across the university with a serious interest in exploring global affairs in-depth during their time at Penn.
Ciocca was drawn to the program as an opportunity to approach the global issues she learned about in her classes from a policy perspective, and connect with and learn from experts at the top of their field, like former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and UN Climate Change’s Koko Warner. The opportunity to connect with students from across Penn and the world also exposed Ciocca to “different academic disciplines, interests, and perspectives.”
In the WHSF program, Perry World House gives students the opportunity to develop new ideas about global challenges through policy projects. For Ciocca, these projects ultimately changed the course of her career. “In my junior year, we chose a project on space weaponization and defense,” she said. “I found that project so exciting that I ended up writing my senior thesis on the topic.” Julia has continued her research on space policy, eventually giving presentations on space weaponization at the U.S. Defense Department’s Strategic Command and the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Project on Nuclear Weapons conference.
More than career opportunities, these projects help students develop practical skills, including how to approach problems from a policy perspective. Ciocca said, “understanding the framework and mentality that most policymakers use is an invaluable skill for contextualizing global issues, developing solutions for them, and then communicating those solutions to a broader audience.”
Now that Ciocca is on staff at Perry World House, she helps lead the WHSF program. Once a student herself, she supports students with their own policy projects and organizes experts to attend seminars. Ciocca said, “Having been a WHSF gives me a better perspective on how the students perceive the program and how we can best support them.”
Penn Global Week is an annual event for the university to showcase the depth and breadth of cultural activity and global programming available across campus. This feature is part of a series dedicated to highlighting the experiences and work of the students and faculty who make Penn global, and enrich Penn’s global engagement efforts.