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Success Not Foreign to Veteran, International Studies Major

On the first day of his internship with the U.S. Department of State, international studies major Durrell Green thought to himself, “This is it. I’m on the right path.”

Green aspires to be a Foreign Service Officer, or FSO, a federal diplomat whose duties include promoting international peace and democracy. In 2014, Green was selected for the prestigious and highly competitive U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program, a two-summer experience in which interns get a firsthand look at the affairs in foreign policy construction and implementation.

Durrell Green

“Even though I was only an intern, I felt like I was partaking in a small part of my dream,” Green said. “I’ve dreamt about and worked toward becoming an FSO for the past five years.”   

Green spent the first summer of his internship in Washington D.C., where he worked on various political military issues for East Asian and the Pacific. He will complete the second summer of his internship in Korea, just after his graduation ceremony.

Green will join more than 1,000 graduates who will participate at the University of St. Thomas Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. at NRG Arena.

Aiming High With Service Career

Green’s dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer started while serving in the the U.S. Army. He served tours of duty in Korea, Germany and Afghanistan and was honorably discharged as a specialist.

It was during his tour in Afghanistan that Green encountered a Foreign Service Officer stationed at his operations center.

“I was immediately impressed with the level of responsibilities he bore as a liaison officer,” Green told UST in 2014. “The commander of my regiment went to him for funding to support the local government council. I was most impressed by the impact that one man could have on the lives of so many in the region. From that moment, I knew I wanted to serve in the Foreign Service.”

Green’s path to becoming a Foreign Service Officer led him to UST. He said he was impressed by UST’s reputation for international studies and for its strong support for veterans. Green studied under UST Assistant Professor of International Studies Richard Sindelar, a former Foreign Service Officer.

“Having a former FSO like Professor Sindelar really has helped me to not only desire to become an FSO more, but it also has helped me to learn to think like one,” Green said.

Sindelar also assisted Green in his application for the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program.

“Durrell has always been a dedicated and hardworking student,” Sindelar said. “His selection into the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program speaks volumes on Durrell’s smooth professionalism and his dedication to his studies.”

Eyes Front, Dreams Ahead

Green is eager for the second part of his internship to begin, where he will be stationed in Korea.

“I consider Korea a home away from home,” Green said. “I love the people, the cuisine and the culture, and I hope to visit some of my friends from the Korean Army who served with me.”

During his time in Korea as an Army soldier, Green said he didn’t truly understand why his unit maintained a constant state of readiness. His unit was stationed about 13 miles from the Demilitarized Zone.

“I had a limited understanding of the geopolitical implications of what was going on around me,” Green said. “My experience this summer will be different because now I’ll be equipped with a much better understanding of what’s going on, and hopefully I will be able to affect change at a much higher level.”

Though he still has one more summer to go before his internship is completed, Green hopes he will realize his career and enter the State Department within the next two years. Green recently passed the Foreign Service Offer test and is awaiting an invite for an oral examination.

Green says he is grateful for all the help UST has given him.

“UST has pushed me to grow academically and has really equipped me with the tools to become a successful FSO,” Green said.