by Linda Hass, Published March 06, 2014
Eastern Michigan University has helped junior Trevis Harrold go places few students have gone before. With encouragement and preparation from faculty and staff, this political science major secured a prestigious U.S. Department of State internship at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo, last summer.
“My student internship in Kosovo was the opportunity of a lifetime. Reading about foreign affairs is one thing; getting hands-on experience is another,” says Harrold, adding that the 9-week experience helped him appreciate the value of listening and finding common ground in resolving conflicts.
His duties at the embassy included giving presentations to area youth about economic development; working with representatives of the U.S. Dept. of State’s Foreign and Civil Services; and drafting communications to Washington, D.C. He lived in a gated community secured by the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Saginaw native also traveled to Germany, Albania and Macedonia, and had opportunities to sample such delights as homemade baklava and unusual dishes as pig’s head. “When you accept an invitation to eat something, you’re not just saying ‘yes’ to food, you’re accepting an outreach of hospitality,” he says.
Of the approximately 15,000 students who apply for unpaid internships annually, only about 2,000 are chosen every year, making it a rare honor, according to the Department’s Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment. Of those chosen, only half are assigned to embassies around the world; the other half go to the U.S. Dept. of State in Washington, D.C.
“No matter where I went, I was always mindful that I represented not only America, but Eastern Michigan University,” says Harrold, who is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science, with a minor in international business, in 2015.
“I’m grateful to EMU for equipping me to serve overseas. Eastern’s campus gave me experience interacting with a diverse student population, which was very helpful,” says the honor’s college student, adding that faculty and staff helped him find scholarships and grants that made the trip financially possible. “We have some of the best faculty in the country,” he adds.
After graduation, Harrold plans to earn a graduate degree, with a concentration in international affairs and public policy, and eventually work for the U.S. Dept. of State. The personable junior currently serves as a student ambassador working closely with EMU President Susan Martin. He also interned for State Rep. David Rutledge, Michigan House of Representatives, for eight weeks, handling constituency issues and participating in State legislative policy and community networking.
“Trevis Harrold is one of the most gracious and passionate students I know. He has a quiet disposition, a grateful manner, and a constant thirst for learning,” says Rebecca Sipe, EMU English professor and director of the Honor’s College. “That he has fully embraced his role as one who represents us all speaks volumes about his character and personal life mission. I’m eager to watch his future career unfold.”
For more information on U.S. Dept. of State student internships, see: http://careers.state.gov/students/programs. For information about internships through EMU’s political science department, see: http://www.emich.edu/polisci/internships/index.php