WKU student named Dept. of State foreign affairs campus coordinator

WKU senior Noah Stevens was named US Department of State Campus Affairs Coordinator, a position that is highly selective. Stevens is currently the only person at WKU that holds this position. “I’m in the process of applying to grad schools right now, but I wouldn’t mind working for the Department of State when I’m done with school. I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve been able to do so far,” Stevens said.

Emily DeLetter

Looking at his family, a life in government service seemed inevitable for WKU senior Noah Stevens. From growing up in Elizabethtown near Fort Knox and coming from a predominately military family, Stevens began to wonder where his lifelong interest in international issues and public service could fit in.

Stevens, a triple major in international affairs, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, said he found an internship at the Department of State as he was looking for professional opportunities. He was offered an internship during his sophomore year and has been working there ever since.

“The Department of State seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about government service and use the skills I’m interested in developing,” Stevens said.

Stevens spent the first summer of his internship in Washington, D.C., and the second working at the embassy in Oslo, Norway. This semester, he was named the WKU foreign affairs campus coordinator for the Department of State, a position he said fits perfectly with the kind of work he’s trying to accomplish.

As the foreign affairs campus coordinator, he will help coordinate events, programs and other opportunities for students through the Office of Scholar Development at WKU to learn more about the work the Department of State does, as well as potential internships.

“My position is essentially a facilitator between interested students, other community members at the university and the Department,” he said.

According to the Department of State’s government website, students who have the foreign affairs campus coordinator position help “connect their academic communities to the Department’s policy priorities” by utilizing social media, arranging video and phone conferences, conducting workshops and round tables focusing on career development and foreign policy issues, and coordinating campus visits with Department of State officials.

Previous WKU foreign affairs campus coordinators worked with the diplomat in residence to help promote work through the Department of State. The most recent diplomat in residence was Michael McClellan, who no longer presides at WKU.

Soleiman Kiasatpour is a professor with the Department of Political Science and has had Stevens for several classes. Kiasatpour said he was continually impressed with Stevens’ ongoing “search for more books to read and more courses to take.”

“He is the ideal candidate to liaise with the U.S. State Department and the campus community,” Kiasatpour said in an email. “He knows how to apply for entry-level positions with State, the ‘culture’ of the Department, and what it is like to work there. Students should seek him out to get the best advice possible if they are interested in starting a career in diplomacy.”

Stevens said his experience working with the Department of State has solidified his desire to work in public service and “ignite” that same desire in other students. 

“My personal goal is to help students who aren’t just studying a language or political science to recognize that the Department [of State] really needs and recruits students from different academic backgrounds,” Stevens said. “Whether you’re an environmental science major or an engineering major, there’s good work to be done, and the federal government needs people who are willing to serve from a variety of backgrounds.”

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.