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Co-op inspires a passion for national service

Terrell Hunt was born in Washington, D.C., the epicenter of U.S. government, but his commitment to joining the United States Foreign Service was shaped by his experiential-learning opportunities at Northeastern.

Following his first co-op in financial systems at the U.S. Department of Defense and a study abroad at the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France, the senior business major yearned for his chance to return to the nation’s capitol. He got his wish last spring, working on co-op in the State Department’s Office of Western European Affairs.

Hunt was one of eight students, chosen from thousand of applicants, whose co-op was sponsored by Mary Thompson-Jones, the former U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence for New England; Thompson-Jones now serves as an academic specialist and the director of Northeastern’s Master of Science in Global Students and International Affairs program.

“This unique experience gave me a complete look into the life and work of a career Foreign Service officer and allowed me to really explore my passions,” said Hunt.

As the junior desk officer for the Benelux countries, Hunt briefed key decision-makers, attended meetings as a representative of U.S. interests, and prepared statements for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state. Senior staff recognized his contributions, and he was subsequently awarded a certificate of appreciation, which was endorsed by the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

“Being able to write the remarks for President Obama was my absolute favorite thing,” Hunt said. “It was a complete honor and something that I can say that I did for the rest of my life.”

Hunt considers his experience in Washington a rare privilege and couldn’t say no to yet another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which presented itself immediately following his co-op in the country’s capitol: an offer to work at the Consulate General of the United States in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Hunt’s work while on co-op in Scotland, which was supported by a Presidential Global Scholarship from Northeastern, ranged from managing the Consulate’s press reporting to drafting diplomatic correspondence and briefs for senior staff including the Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counselor for Political Affairs.

It’s an understatement to say that Hunt’s experiential-learning opportunities have shaped his future as a U.S. diplomat. “The concept of service is really important to me,” Hunt said. “I want to use all of the skills and knowledge that I’ve accumulated over study abroad, co-op, and classes to serve and represent the interests of my country that I love so much.”

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