U.S. Department of State
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Zachary M. Adams

Major: Political Science/International Affairs
Minor: Spanish, Global Security
Hometown: Frackville, Pennsylvania

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience through the U.S. Department of State's website and through their mobile application, as well as USA Jobs. The mobile app provides internship opportunity notifications for students.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I performed a variety of administrative duties for the Foreign Service Institute, enhanced the communications and correspondence processes between the different schools at the Institute, performed intense database management and programming for diplomatic language services, completed diplomatic support/research services for the future Foreign Service Officers as well as foreign language support/translation services. I also assisted language instructors in Information Technology matters as well as in Distance Language Learning (DLL are the language learning processes for Ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers abroad).

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship impacted me academically because I had to take the Fall 2016 semester off as the internship was a full-time, 10-week, unpaid commitment to the federal government. During this time I was able to take one 3-credit World Campus course with Penn State. I used many of the important international affairs concepts I learned at Penn State on a daily basis, as this internship required that I hone my communication skills to multiple supervisors in multiple languages, as the environment was linguistically eclectic.

"This internship has undoubtedly inspired me to work for the Foreign Service to represent our nation abroad."

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My future career plans and life goals include working for the Foreign Service by utilizing my language and cultural abilities towards the furtherance of our nation’s interests and diplomacy abroad. This internship experience at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC), Foreign Service Institute (FSI), while working firsthand with U.S. Ambassadors and Foreign Service Officers has undoubtedly inspired me to work for the Foreign Service to represent our nation abroad, as I am scheduled to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) early this year. I also believe that my pursuit of my Master’s Degree in International Affairs with the Pennsylvania State University will only enhance my knowledge of modern diplomacy and assist me with this lifetime career aspiration.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would highly recommend this internship to Liberal Arts students. The experience provided me a first-hand experience of how our nation's Foreign Service Officers are trained in language, cultural, and international relations/government at the Foreign Service Institute. The experience also provided me the opportunity to visit multiple embassies in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area, meet foreign ambassadors, make important professional contacts at the State Department, as well as see the actual workings of the Foreign Service with the U.S. government.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows requirement of actually completing an internship assignment has motivated me personally to seek out intensive internships whenever the opportunity manifests, as I have previously interned at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (for attorney continued legal education in the state of Pennsylvania) as well as for the Pennsylvania State Senate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I believe that the Paterno Fellows Program has inspired and motivated me to do the very best that I can do, not only for my own academic involvement, but also for the University's.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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