Benjamin Rowles

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'18 English | Foreign Service Officer (Diplomat), U.S. Department of State | Washington, D.C.
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Benjamin Rowles

Liberal Arts Major: English

Hometown: Canadensis, PA

Current Location: Arlington, VA

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

As an undergrad at Penn State I interned at the U.S. Department of State, both at headquarters in Washington, DC, and at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia. Those experiences convinced me that I wanted to serve as a diplomat with the State Department. In a much different vein, I spent a summer doing linguistic research on World of Warcraft with the University Libraries. My team and I later presented our research at a conference in Poland.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

Program Assistant for Peacebuilding Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C.

What was your favorite class and/or who was your favorite faculty member?

ENGL 300 Alfred Hitchcock: Adaptation, Authorship, Auteurship with Dr. Garrett Sullivan, because it looked at how works of fiction change when adapted from page to screen, which I found fascinating. It was a small-group seminar, and the discussions were great. I learned a lot from my classmates.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for your life after graduation?

My jobs in public policy have demanded strong written and oral communication skills, which I was able to develop as an English major and Penn State Liberal Arts student. My liberal arts education also helped me to become more creative, which continues to benefit me in and out of the workplace.

In what ways has networking influenced your career? What networking tips and/or advice would you share with current students?

Networking has allowed me to find mentors to help guide my career progression. I took advantage of the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor program as a student, and I recommend that current students do the same. It is also great to get in touch with the Career Enrichment Network about which Penn State alumni are active in your field and may be able to give you advice.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

The mentors that I met through the College of Liberal Arts and elsewhere have helped me weigh internship and job decisions, craft applications, prepare for interviews, and think about what is most important to me in my life and career. I owe a lot of my personal and professional success to them.

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Flashback to Benjamin as an Undergrad:

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