Hi! My name is Leah, and here is the essay on the evolution of my career goals in public service!

The average American will undergo at least three career changes before settling on a track to retire on, and it is rare that at such an early age I have discovered my passion for government service and the opportunities to grow within such a career. Using the tools that tertiary education provides, I have developed my own curriculum to help prepare me to be effective and innovative within the State Department in a career of Foreign Service. The prospect of working abroad to help improve and deepen foreign relations, open new avenues between countries, and provide Americans with the same opportunities to travel as I had is both exciting and rewarding.
At the School for International Training where I am pursuing an MA of Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management—I have utilized the language resources, focusing on perfecting critical languages as defined by the State Department. Russian, Belorussian, Serbian (and Kiswahili for good measure) are all such adventurous academic goals that will benefit my country and my career. I have used my summers as immersive experiences (2009, and approaching 2010) in intensive language programs through the State Department (NSLI Critical Language Scholarships) and my dedication to foreign language and service has risen with my progress. In addition, I have been able to essentially design my own Masters program to focus on intercultural communication, mediation and international management to prepare me fully for spending more time abroad where I will be an efficient and competent professional in Foreign Service. It is exhilarating to have aligned my love for languages and travel, with the resources of higher education in pursuit of a goal that I truly believe in.
In the Fall I will be participating in a State Department embassy/consulate internship overseas. I have currently received three offers (Kiev, Ukraine; Tbilisi, Georgia; Moscow, Russia) and I am confident that in any of those locations I will gain a great deal of experience and be an asset to the team with whom I work. Further, I am a candidate for a Boren Fellowship (NSEP, Department of Education) where I will be devoting my thesis to an issue of national security, and studying Russian through another intensive language program. Through SIT’s off-campus phase of the Program of International Management I have been able to use a position with the State Department and potentially the Boren Fellowship as the baseline for my thesis—exploring government service on a deeper level that I know will help others considering a government career.
Given my desire to pursue a career in the government and the dedication of my off-campus phase of SIT’s Master’s program to Foreign Service, I am confident that I am a qualified candidate for the GovLoop/CampusGov.com scholarship. My experience on government scholarships and the potential for furthering my experience through internships and fellowships has only increased my enthusiasm in connecting across borders and serving my country—and I am destined for a fruitful and valuable career. Thank you for your consideration.