CED major to intern with the National Defense University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Arianna De Reus, a senior in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is moving ever closer toward her dream of working in national security. The Hollidaysburg native's next step in realizing that goal is a spring semester internship with the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

The Community, Environment, and Development major will be assigned to that university's International Student Management Office, which works with students who are senior-level military officers from other countries. The office uses trips around the United States and classes at the university to expose these officers and their families to American culture.

Part of her job will be planning and participating in these trips and other events. De Reus also is expected to assist with the alumni program and to help with administrative tasks around the office.

Since she was 10 years old, De Reus has been volunteering in developing countries, where she has seen how poverty affects national security.

"It all really made me appreciate what I have in the United States," she said. "I saw how improving development abroad promotes stability and strengthens U.S. national security."

Until she was 17, De Reus volunteered at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. Being around children her own age who lived a life much different from hers led to the realization of just how fortunate she was to have a supportive mother and educational opportunities. She also volunteered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, teaching English and art classes.

"Seeing what life in that failed state is like really made me appreciate the U.S. government because I saw how bad corruption and violence can be," she said. "That really contributed to my career goals."

The journey that brought De Reus to her recent acceptance into the National Defense University internship program began when she attended a presentation on that campus about Boren Fellowships. The woman delivering the presentation currently works at the university, so De Reus asked her about her job and for advice.

It turned out that the presenter and De Reus had a lot in common. They both had attended Penn State and both had interned at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle. The presenter recommended that De Reus apply for the National Defense University internship.

"I'm really excited. It's important to me because I want to try to have an impact on improving national security in some way; this internship will start me on that path," De Reus said. "I appreciate this opportunity, which would not have been possible without tremendous support from the College of Ag Sciences and Penn State."

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Last Updated December 19, 2014