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Intercultural and International Communication | SIS

IIP Workplace

Six SIS Graudate Students Invited to Visit US State Department

In December of 2016, Lindsey Boyle (SIS/MA ’11), a New Media Strategist in the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) at the US Department of State and her colleague, Alexandra Nemeth (SIS/BA ’11), a Foreign Affairs Officer at the US Department of State, hosted six International Media (IM) and Intercultural and International Communication (IC) graduate students at IIP’s offices in Washington, DC. The visit included a tour of IIP’s newly renovated space and introductions to other American University (AU) alumni. 

For Lindsey, an alumna of the IM program at the School of International Service (SIS), hosting IC and IM graduate students provided the opportunity to share the excitement of her work with students, give them unique insight in the US Department of State, and help them tap the vast network of AU alumni currently working there. 

“I thought a site visit was a great opportunity to come in, see our space, and talk to a lot of AU colleagues all at once,” explains Lindsey, who invited her colleagues to participate. Together, they provided a broad perspective into how the US Department of State operates. 

After speaking to students in the introductory course on International Communication (SIS-640) earlier in the semester, Lindsey was inspired to organize a site visit to IIP. At IIP, employees regularly bring in students from their alma mater to grow the pool of qualified internship applicants and share the exciting public diplomacy work done by the bureau. Students in the course were happy to take Lindsey up on her offer.  

Alma Burke, a first-year graduate student in the IM program interested in digital media and storytelling, learned that the US Department of State employs photographers, videographers, graphic designers, and other media experts, which helped broaden her understanding of her available career opportunities. “It was refreshing to learn that I have career options outside of the corporate sector.” 

Kiara Taylor, a first-year graduate student in the IC program, was also impressed with the range of positions at the US Department of State: “Ms. Boyle’s department, the International Information Program department, is multifaceted and has many roles.”  

Communicating the diversity of positions in the US Department of State was a key goal of Alexandra Nemeth, who helped Lindsey host the students. 

“State is more than just exchanges,” explain Alexandra, “Even though students might have an idea of what IIP is, there are a lot of positions—videographer, project manager, developers. There are so many jobs you can have in public diplomacy. Here, you’re actually doing hands on work.” 

For Lindsey, the site visit was also about connecting IM and IC students to a critical career resource: alumni. “I wanted to bring [students] in and give them a network of their AU colleagues who are just a few years ahead of them, because those connections are important for increasing their chances of getting internships and jobs at State.”  

The IC and IM programs, like other graduate programs offered at SIS, function with an understanding of the importance of building community networks. By inviting alumni to class discussions, workshop and speaking events, and annual receptions and networking events, these programs actively build critical professional networks that expand career opportunities for both students and alumni. 

“I was excited to meet alum of the IC/IM program that could give insight to their experiences as student as well how they were able to transcend their education to their professional endeavors,” says Alma. “One thing I can say about AU is that the network is wide and seems to be very open to helping and engaging with current students.”