A person stands inside a meeting room inside the United Nations.
BGSU Honors College student Elyse Adrian stands inside a meeting room in the United Nations as an intern with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

BGSU Honors College student gains firsthand look at foreign policy through State Department internship

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Political science major Elyse Adrian, the second consecutive BGSU Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship recipient, is working at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations this summer

By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07

Bowling Green State University senior and Honors College student Elyse Adrian is gaining firsthand experience this summer of American foreign policy and the inner workings of the U.S. Department of State—an invaluable career-building opportunity for the political science major.

As an intern at the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) in New York City, Adrian was in the room as United Nations member states negotiated important resolutions, helped plan a high-level event for a U.N. ambassador and has been involved in other noteworthy projects for the State Department she can’t discuss publicly.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations serves as the United States delegation to the United Nations and carries out the nation’s participation in the world body.

Adrian attributes the unique professional opportunity to her academic and extracurricular accomplishments at BGSU and status as an Obama-Chesky Voyager, a highly competitive leadership development and scholarship program that connects students who are passionate about public service to a global network of leaders in their field.

“I owe a lot of gratitude to BGSU,” she said. “I am so grateful for BGSU and this learning community. I have received support and opportunities that have elevated my college experience and shaped my future.”

A person speaks on stage at a TEDxBGSU event.
Elyse Adrian credits her rewarding internship experience to the many opportunities available to her at BGSU, including being a TEDxBGSU speaker.

Adrian was notified of the internship opportunity through the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service program, which encourages its scholars to pursue summer work-travel experiences relevant to their future careers.

The Voyager Scholarship, awarded to only 100 college juniors across the U.S., was created by former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, to empower the next generation of leaders to create meaningful change through public service.

Adrian is the second consecutive BGSU student to be selected for the Voyager program, following recent alumna Kaylee Ries ‘24, who was part of the inaugural cohort in 2022.

Adrian works in the Economic and Social Affairs Section of the U.S. Mission to the U.N., which covers humanitarian assistance, post-conflict peacebuilding, economic, social and human rights issues, which align with her minor in peace and conflict studies.

Since the start of her internship, Adrian said the value of her BGSU education has been evident. She’s seen peace-building methods she learned about in class in action and said her knowledge of governance systems and United Nations processes has been crucial to her role.

She said her involvement in BGSU Undergraduate Student Government, experience as a TEDxBGSU speaker and work as an Alumni Laureate Scholar have also contributed to a rewarding internship experience.

“I’m really at an advantage because of my experiences at BGSU,” Adrian said. “The BGSU Political Science Department is amazing, and the professors are brilliant, top researchers who teach us practical, relevant knowledge that has been useful in the real world. BGSU has also helped me become more well-spoken and a better communicator.”

Before beginning her internship in New York, Adrian spent three weeks traveling through four European countries to learn about their use of renewable energy, a passion she hopes to combine with her interest in politics to create public good.

“I want to be a part of setting the agenda and creating concrete steps to accomplish things like implementing more renewable energy throughout the U.S.,” Adrian said. “My experience this summer has been great, and I know it will play a big role in my future.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 07/09/2024 10:34AM