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Student Success Story

Defense Intern Pushes Boundaries

By Sean Wagman

Kristen Lyon, intern at the U.S. Department of Defense, poses in front of the Jefferson Memorial.

Kristen Lyon, SIS/BA '09.

In classrooms throughout American University, the Department of Defense is often portrayed as intimidating and mysterious. That didn’t bother Kristen Lyon '09.

The School of International Service student recently completed an internship at the Department of Defense and is now slated to begin a full time position there after graduation.

As one could imagine, an internship at the Department of Defense was not easy.  Kristen worked on projects with foreign allies such as Australia and wrote reports for combat commanders and policymakers. She also became an expert in Asian studies, initially a challenge since it was not her primary area of focus.

Indeed, after experiencing life at the Department, Kristen learned the importance of self-confidence, especially when tackling projects outside of your comfort zone. 

“They thought you were good enough,” she says. “Prove it. Don’t doubt yourself.”