Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Student Spotlight: Taylor Pearce '18

Concentration: International Relations — Political Economy Track

Hometown: Belleville, Michigan

Where did you work this past summer, and what did the work involve?

Last summer I worked for the US State Department at the US Mission to the UN in New York. I worked for Host Country Affairs as well as Economic and Social Affairs. I was part of a team that prepared talking points and background information to the incoming ambassador, so I was able to work closely with high-level diplomats. I also represented the US at various meetings and negotiations at the UN ranging from international immigration, promotion of world peace through sport, and diplomatic property disputes. It was a really rewarding experience and confirmed my commitment to public service and diplomacy.

How has Watson shaped, informed, or contextualized this work?

My favorite aspect of studying IR at Watson is the freedom I have to explore any aspect of international relations that I wish. I love that no two IR concentrators will graduate having taken the same classes, and I really feel that I’ve been able to tailor my degree to fit my interests. I’m studying political economy with Western Europe as my regional focus, so through Watson I’ve been able to focus on European integration—or lack thereof, I wrote my capstone on Brexit. I’m also interested in the role that international institutions play in international relations, so being able to work for USUN was fascinating in that regard. I love that I’m able to take classes that approach IR through an abstract/theoretical lens, while the connections I’ve made through Watson have simultaneously allowed me to pursue hands-on and tangible work in the fields that interest me.

What are you hoping to do post graduation with your degree?

Long-term I’m hoping to be able to serve as a Foreign Service Officer, and eventually I see myself working for an international institution like the UN or World Bank. For now, I’m waiting out the tumultuous time the State Department is currently experiencing, and I’m hoping to move overseas to gain more foreign experience. After graduation, I plan to move to Germany and pursue political work there by working for the Bundestag. I’m not certain on what I’m doing postgrad, but I’m grateful that Watson has given me the skills and confidence to just pack up and move abroad to pursue my career goals.  

-Amalia Perez '18