CSU, Chico News

Student Has State Department Internship in Panama

Date: 07-25-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico student Jean-Claire Peltier is working in a prestigious U.S. Department of State internship this summer at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City, Panama.

Peltier (second from the right) is a senior majoring in sociology and Latin American studies. Last year she transferred to CSU, Chico from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. She plans to go on to graduate school after graduation.

Peltier heard about the State Department Internship Program last year from Kate Buckley, an advisor in the Chico State Career Center. She then applied for the program and met Brooks Anne Robinson, diplomat in residence at UC Berkeley, who does recruiting for the Department of State.

Robinson said Department of State summer internships are competitive, with only about one out of 10 applicants chosen.

Peltier works in the U.S. Embassy’s public affairs section, helping to send embassy speakers to different parts of the country in a cultural outreach program. She and others tailor presentations based on the audience and its area of interest. The goal of the program is to foster positive interactions between Panamanians and U.S. representatives. “I also draft remarks and memos for the ambassador, work with Fulbright Alumni programs, and I have been trying to set up a youth mentorship program,” Peltier said. “It’s a full job!”

Robinson said the State Department hosts about 2,000 interns every year, of which approximately half go to Washington, DC and half to embassies and consulates around the world. She said because interns need security clearances just like employees, the lead time between applying and getting an internship is lengthy. The deadline for students to apply for a summer internship is November 1.

“The internships give students a real-life opportunity to learn what it's like to work in the State Department, and in particular, the Foreign Service,” Robinson said. “If you think this career—and lifestyle—may be for you, then this is the best way to find out without actually getting hired.”