U.S. Department of State (VSFS)
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Annaliese Thoet

Major: International Politics and History
Minor: German
Hometown: University Park

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned of this experience from my sister who works at USAID. The students from No Lost Generation at George Washington University presented to her. Afterwards I came in contact with the student leader of the No Lost Generation Student Initiative and he connected me to the Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) internship with the State Department.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My internship with the State Department has been amazing and opened up so many doors for me. As part of the internship, I created a chapter of No Lost Generation at Penn State. No Lost Generation is an initiative that supports the education and well-being of children refugees. Through the club and internship, I have gained immense knowledge on the refugee crisis and befriended students and faculty from all walks of life. I am also given the opportunity to network with 50 other universities who have chapters of No Lost Generation with this internship. Being a part of a student group tasked by the State Department to actually do something substantial and be able to help has been amazing.

"Being a part of a student group tasked by the State Department to actually do something substantial and be able to help has been amazing."

How did this experience impact you academically?

The internship is focused around the refugee crisis and when it originally began it was in direct response to the Syrian crisis. Since then the initiative has expanded to help children refugees worldwide. However, I soon came to realize there is so much to know about the Middle East. This internship pushed me to take a history course about the Middle East. Thus far, it has been extremely educational. I would never have taken this course and had the desire to learn more about this topic had it not been for No Lost Generation and the VSFS internship at the State Department.

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

I have two primary career goals. My first career goal is to work with the State Department or a nonprofit overseas and further No Lost Generation via a different avenue. I never want to stop helping kids who have had rough lives. These are the most innocent humans that need a helping hand and I believe I would be able to help them by working abroad with an organization or the government. My other career goal would be to work with the FBI and ensure our country remains secure and those that inhabit the United States of America are safe.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I most definitely would. It has connected me with so many students at Penn State and other universities. The networking is amazing and it is truly an outstanding cause that students can play a large role in.

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

Paterno Fellows has always pushed me to do more with my time here at Penn State. Especially with starting No Lost Generation, Paterno Fellows has been quite supportive. Paterno Fellows allowed me to advertise the organization in their weekly newsletter, which was quite beneficial. The funding from Paterno Fellows has also allowed me to devote so much time to the internship and afforded me amazing opportunities through it. Without Paterno Fellows, No Lost Generation would not be as successful as it is today.

For more information on internship opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website
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