Liberal arts & sciences at work: Rebecca Rumptz interns at Department of State

A career in the US army sparked Rebecca Rumptz’s passion for international diplomacy. Originally from a small town in Michigan, she joined the Army straight out of high school and spent the next seven years as a soldier working in intelligence analysis.  Assignments in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan, and a period in Washington D.C. fueled her passions further. A desire to learn more led her to KU.

Aa Jayhawk, Rebecca majored in global & international studies and journalism, developing the  skills and knowledge needed to pursue a job in the government. But she wanted more hands-on experience, and was accepted on the prestigious and selective U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program with the Department of State.

So what did she learn?

According to Rebecca, the most valuable lesson she learned was the importance of accommodating multiple perspectives in any government agency.

“During roundtable discussions everyone approached an issue from a different angle,” Rebecca said, “meaning that we considered solutions that tackled a problem in broader terms than if it was just one person, or a team that all thought in the same way.”

Interns from the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program meet Secretary of State John Kerry during summer 2016. Middle row, left, Rebecca Rumptz.

This Jayhawk also noted the importance of meeting the other interns, all drawn from different backgrounds.

“Because this is a paid internship, there were no financial barriers to participation, and this resulted in a diverse group of students,” Rebecca said.

Before she heads off to Warsaw Poland to complete her internship with 10 weeks at a US embassy, we caught up with Rebecca to ask her what’s the most valuable lesson she has learned?

“Look for the thing that needs to be changed and take initiative. That will get you a seat at the table, where your voice will be heard.”