Many incredible people have passed through the VACorps internship program since we first started hosting interns in 2006. “Oh the places you’ll go” is a series where our alumni share updates about their careers and life accomplishments. In this latest post, Joshua Dilk (’09) checks in from Washington, DC, where he currently works at the US Securities & Exchange Commission. During his human rights law internship at the South African Human Rights Commission, Josh (a.k.a. JDilk) met his future wife, Diane, a fellow human rights law intern. They now have a lovely son named Aaron who keeps them on their toes and will be joining the VACorps internship program in 2032. Connect with Josh via LinkedIn HERE.
Please give us a summary of your career to date. What have been doing and where do you see yourself heading?
After leaving Cape Town and the VACorps after a 6-month internship, my now wife and I travelled the globe for a few months after which I worked at a global law firm in New York for nearly 5 years. During that time period, I worked at that firm’s office in Istanbul, Turkey for 18 months. Following that, I took a new position at the US Securities & Exchange Commission. Given my family’s love of travel and living abroad, I expect that I will rejoin the private sector at some point in the future, hopefully overseas.
What were the highlights of your internship experience in Cape Town?
My internship at the South African Human Rights Commission was a wonderful education in ground-level human rights work. I inspected a mental health facility, gathered information at a refugee center in De Doorns, and was able to draft reports that were sent to the South African Parliament.
Can you share an example of how your internship experience aided you with your career?
My internship left a lasting impression on me that made me more empathetic and able to think issues through from different perspectives. While I practiced M&A at the law firm, and practice securities law at the SEC, my internship informed the nature and type of pro bono work I carry out. While at the law firm, I collaboratively researched and wrote reports that were sent to the United Nations. I also volunteer with the Jessup Moot Court Competition—the world’s largest moot court competition focused on international and human rights issues.
What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d like to give to future VAC interns and/or those considering participation in the program?
Any predictions for what we can expect from you in 10 year’s time?
Only that you’ll see my wife, toddler, and me back in Cape Town, and South Africa in general, again and again.