|Mollie Lemon, pictured above at the Sphinx and after climbing Mt. Kenya, attended Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs from 2005 until December 2007 and graduated with a joint Masters degree (MPA/MSES) in Public Affairs and Environmental Science. She shares her experience as a campus coordinator in the following interview.
Q: Why did you decide to participate in the Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator Program?
A: As a student at a large Midwestern university, being a Campus Coordinator gave me the opportunity to bring foreign affairs issues to my campus via videoconferences, a visit from the Diplomat in Residence for my region, and other events. Being located far from D.C., it’s not often possible for Indiana University students to attend State Department events. This program enabled me to help focus students’ attention on important issues nonetheless.
Q: How did the State Department and your internship prepare you for the program?
A: The Public Affairs Bureau conducted a comprehensive training for the Campus Coordinators—we discussed issues such as public outreach, working with the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs and Media Outreach, and participated in a public speaking workshop.
My internship in the summer of 2006, with the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, exposed me to many aspects of the Department’s work—training programs at the Foreign Service Institute, budgetary meetings, and program implementation overseas, to name a few. As such, I feel confident in answering questions from other students interested in a career with the State Department.
Also, throughout my time as a Campus Coordinator, the Bureau has been very helpful in scheduling events and in giving me and the other Coordinators many ideas for programs that appeal to students and faculty.
Q: How do you think the program benefited your campus as a whole?
A: Several of the events that I helped to coordinate were open to the entire IU campus, and I publicized them not only to my graduate program but to all students. For example, a videoconference on Sudan/Darfur last spring attracted both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty. In addition, a visit by Mr. Tony Benesch, the former Diplomat in Residence for this region, was attended by a diverse group including many minority students.
Q: Do any stories from your experience as a Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator stand out?
A: During my internship, I worked under Dr. Jonathan Margolis, who at the time served as the Department’s Special Representative for Sustainable Development. In the fall semester following my internship, I enrolled in a class entitled ‘Sustainable Development’—a perfect opportunity to host a videoconference! Dr. Margolis spoke to my class about U.S. efforts to promote sustainable development policies and partnerships and took questions from the students. It was a great way to learn about how environmental policy is actually conducted in the real world.
Q: What did you gain from being a Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator?
A: I gained valuable experience in coordinating visits by distinguished guests, in setting up videoconferences (I had never done that before!), and in working with contacts at the State Department and several campus departments to put together successful events. I also expanded my own knowledge of the State Department’s work from attending these events—in particular; two videoconferences (on Sudan/Darfur and Sustainable Development initiatives) were very enlightening for me and other attendees.
Q: How do you think this program furthers the mission of the State Department?
A: To further the mission of the Department (to “create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community”), it is imperative that students are aware of America’s diplomatic efforts around the world and of foreign affairs in general. Increasingly, our world is shrinking—globalization is bringing cultures and peoples together like never before and without an understanding of how nations interact to further the welfare of their own citizenries, a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world may well be beyond our reach. Students, like those at Indiana University, are the future leaders of these efforts, and the Campus Coordinator Program helps to ensure that they are well informed.
Mollie Lemon is from Indiana and received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University in 2003. Before returning to graduate school, Mollie worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer for a year, tutoring children in reading and leading an afterschool program. Mollie attended Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs from 2005 until December 2007 and graduated with a joint Masters degree (MPA/MSES) in Public Affairs and Environmental Science. During the summer of 2006, Mollie Lemon interned with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Policy Coordination and Initiatives. Mollie Lemon enjoys traveling in her free time and has visited every continent except Antarctica. In the future, Mollie hopes to return to work for the State Department.