Teresa Haney (Politics ’19) and Maureen O’Toole (Politics, ’19) are back at the University of Dallas for a after spending the fall semester as interns for the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. And they both say there’s no doubt that their experiences will have positive effects on their futures.
Although Haney and O’Toole had different jobs in service to the embassy, both were surprised at how much responsibility and autonomy they were given as interns. Haney, who worked in Foreign Service, said that she was never given menial tasks. “I had to make briefing checklists, write biographies of visiting dignitaries, and research talking points on important issues,” she said. And although these tasks seemed daunting at first, Haney said that knowing she had the support of the Foreign Service team built her confidence. “I basically just figured out what to do,” she said. Haney felt that because her supervisors trusted her with important tasks, they were showing their confidence in her abilities. “It’s like they were saying, ‘We know you can do this.’”
O’Toole worked on social media at the embassy and learned that State Department writing follows its own particular style. “It’s very important to be clear and thorough. Although you’re not necessarily trying to prove a point, your writing must still be able to draw readers in,” she said. One of the highlights of O’Toole’s semester was working on a diplomatic dinner for seven U.S. Senators and their wives, including Texas Senator John Cornyn. While working on this event, O’Toole had the privilege of meeting Pope Francis.
Both women agreed that the internships provided them with deep experience that will inform their future career decisions. “Being in the Foreign Service really opened my eyes to many issues that the world is facing,” Haney said. When asked if she would recommend that other students consider interning abroad, O’Toole said, “I would definitely say go for it. I have no regrets.”
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