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CHASS Student of the Month – February 2009

Erin Motley

Photo of Erin Motley

  • Home Town: Raleigh, NC
  • Class: Senior
  • Major(s):
    • International Studies
    • Minor in Spanish
  • Sample Courses:
    • World Population & Food Prospects
    • U.S. Foreign Policy
    • Global Sustainability
  • Activities:
    • University Career Center Ambassador
    • NC State University Ambassador
    • Vice-President, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
    • Pre-Law Association
    • Office Aide, NCSU Office of Admissions
  • Honors:
    • NCSU Caldwell Fellows
    • Federal Service Student Ambassador: promoting interest in federal employment among undergraduates. One of only 14 such ambassadors in the U.S.
  • Postgraduate Plans: Masters in Liberal Arts in Social & Public Policy, perhaps at Georgetown University or American University. Continue interning with federal government (i.e. DOE or NRC).
  • Career Goals: International Affairs Specialist, seeking to improve the impact U.S. government has on the world.

Why did you select NC State?

I started out interested in International Business, so I began my studies here in the Alexander Hamilton program (a dual degree program between CHASS and College of Management). After I took the International Studies Seminar, I knew I wanted to just focus on International Studies, as the course gave me a real groundwork in the field. Working in International Affairs in the Department of Energy also helped to shape my focus. So I switched to a sole major in International Studies.

Can you describe your internships and the value they have had for you?

I spent the last three summers as an intern at the U.S. Department of Energy. The first summer I worked in the Office of Diversity and Outreach and was assigned to collaborate on a Hispanic Youth Symposium held in Maryland. I also participated in DOE recruiting, interviewing and the selection process of employees. My second summer, I worked in the DOE’s Office of Policy and International Affairs. I was assigned to the Africa and the Middle East section, which monitors and analyzes world oil and gas markets. Upon returning from this experience, I committed to an International Studies major! My third internship included attending Capitol Hill hearings on proposed energy bills, meeting with foreign dignitaries from Cameroon, Africa as well as representatives of a “Zero-Carbon University Project” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

My internships have been valuable because you are thrown into situations you are completely unfamiliar with. You are forced to find mentors and establish relationships. Internships helped me to see how real-world experience fits in with the theories I was leaning in my courses. I would encourage students to be proactive and seek out internship experiences. I also received a lot of support from advisers here in the internship process.

What has been your greatest challenge here at NCSU?

Finding my focus. It can be hard to narrow down your interests. It is important to find mentors who can help guide you, as well as jobs and internships that can give you an idea of career possibilities. I ultimately chose a field where I truly feel I can make a difference.

Do you have any advice for entering students?

Develop relationships with everyone – faculty and students. Find people who will be a positive influence – the company you keep can make or break you. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors questions, and do a lot of networking, no matter how intimidating it may seem at first.

Nominate a student for CHASS Student of the Month.