Meet Max Levites, our new intern

Global Integrity
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New intern Max Levites is hoping his month-long experience with Global Integrity will help him decide what to do after graduation.

“I'm still trying to decide whether I want to get a job before grad school or dive right in,” Levites, 20, from Feasterville, Pa., said.  He is currently a junior at the University of Delaware, majoring in International Relations and French Studies with a minor in History. 

Since he is fluent in Russian and is learning French, Arabic, and German, Levites is pondering a future in either the International Relations field or foreign language education.

As he said to me, he hopes that his internship will help him “learn more about the concepts of transparency and open government, about the types and levels of corruption in different countries, and also about the way organizations like this go about doing their research.”

Julio Urdaneta (JU): What made you interested in Global Integrity?

To be perfectly honest, I’d never even heard of Global Integrity before I was “assigned” this internship through a program at my school. However, after a little research, I am definitely interested by the organization’s mission to expose corruption and promote transparency and open government.

JU: Where were you doing prior to joining Global Integrity?

I’m still in school working on my Bachelor’s in International Relations and French Studies at the University of Delaware. I just came back from a semester studying in Paris, France, which was an absolutely unforgettable experience!

JU: Have you ever experienced corruption first hand?

I don’t have much first-hand experience with corruption outside of seeing a few instances of police officers taking bribes while I was in Russia. However, my parents and grandparents grew up in the Soviet Union, so I’ve heard plenty of stories about life under corrupt regimes.

JU: What are your hobbies/interests?

Music is actually one of my biggest interests. Not playing it, of course, given that I have no musical talent whatsoever, but finding and promoting new bands and artists is something I really love doing. For the last few years, I’ve been writing album and concert reviews for a webzine called Sonic Cathedral (, which focuses on female-fronted metal bands. Though that particular “genre” takes up most of my iPod’s memory, I’ve been branching out lately into more rock and folk music. I’ll give anything a chance, though! I also think Ke$ha is a genius.

JU: What books have helped shaped your professional path?

Given that I haven’t really decided on my professional path just yet, and the fact that I (unfortunately) don’t read much outside of school, this is a hard question to answer.  However, and this definitely going to stop people from taking me seriously, one of the books that really gets me thinking about governments and society is a book called World War Z by Max Brooks. Yes, it’s about zombies, but it does an incredibly good job of exploring how governments and nations deal with a global crisis and how societies can rebuild themselves in the wake of a disaster. It actually melds perfectly with what I’m studying in the International Relations field.

JU: Any recommended reads? – and why.

It’s super nerdy, I know, but I’m a huge fan of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (as well as the HBO series they based on it, Game of Thrones). The world Martin creates in the series is so complex and detailed that it’s hard to believe it came out of just one guy’s brain! Everything, especially the politics and intrigue, is just so intricate, and despite the grand scope of it all, the story is still very character-based. It makes for a great read!

JU: Are you on Twitter?

Too mainstream! I’m kidding, but no, I’m actually too lazy to update anything but Facebook.

— Text and photo by Julio C. Urdaneta

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