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Defense Cooperation Intern at U.S. Embassy
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Umika Sachdev

Major: Criminology, Legal Studies Concentration
Minor: Smeal Business Fundamentals Certificate
Hometown: Republic of Panama

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity by conversing with a Naval officer who was recruiting at a Mechanical Engineering career fair at PSU. Coincidentally, I was at the fair to accompany a friend, where I spoke with U.S. Navy recruiters and spoke to them of my career interests. The officer directed me to seek opportunities through a U.S. Embassy & Consulate.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I interned at the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Panama. My experience entailed working on operations that fostered bilateral defense cooperation between the Panamanian Public Forces and the U.S. Department of Defense.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience was the most rewarding for my career! It was challenging to serve a diplomatic role while fulfilling my duties with the quality of operational standards that are expected at an international level. I found myself interacting with eminent public figures who have the potential to impact worldly matters, so their mentoring did not stop there, but it also taught me values that I could inculcate in my role as President of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity which has significantly improved its standard of operations. So I believe that students with similar experiences can definitely bring so much to the Penn State community.

It was challenging to serve a diplomatic role while fulfilling my duties with the quality of operational standards that are expected at an international level.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to become a diplomat between Panama and the U.S. Further down this path, I would like to represent a delegation in the United Nations or serve in another formal role. This experience aided in my understanding of challenges that global leaders experience: time, money, and differing viewpoints; what makes one a leader though, is the ability to find midpoint solutions amongst these challenges. This ability I believe will serve my career goals best.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I definitely recommend LA students such experiences that go global. Especially for international students in the Criminology field, it can become challenging to fulfill one's interest here. But like the Naval officer indicated, you can always serve bilateral relations through your countries as well, this also being a noble cause. Such an experience will broaden your horizons and also raise the bar for how you recognize your own potential.

 

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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