Public Service Day aims to increase awareness, encourage careers in the sector

ASU programs that students can explore in public service include course, US State Department collaborations


Professor speaking to students in a room used for diplomatic hearings.

Partnerships with organizations such as the U.S. Department of State allows ASU students to explore different segments of the field while working for agencies and groups that align with their interests. ASU photo

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In 2002, the United Nations’ General Assembly declared June 23 as Public Service Day. The designation is meant to celebrate those in the public service community and to encourage younger generations to consider careers in the public sector. 

At Arizona State University, students in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are provided with opportunities to test out what a public service career might entail. Partnerships with organizations such as the U.S. Department of State allow students to explore different segments of the field while working for agencies and groups that align with their interests. 

Magda Hinojosa, The College’s dean of social sciences, recognizes how work in public service relates directly to ASU's charter and the fundamental responsibility to serve and give back to the community. 

“Students are often drawn to careers in public service because they are passionate about making a difference," she said. “They want to do work that they find personally meaningful and that aligns with their values, and they want to serve their communities.”

The State Department is the home to dozens of federal bureaus and leads America’s foreign policy efforts and relations. The Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State, housed within the department, serve as advisors within foreign policy matters.

Programs such as Capital Scholars and Diplomat-in-Residence collaborate with the State Department to provide students with valuable experiences and help kick-start their future careers and interests.

Beyond the State Department, there are many ways to find careers in public service. Güneş Murat Tezcür, the director of the School of Politics and Global Studies, says the school sets students up for success in a field such as this. 

“There are many other governmental agencies that provide opportunities for public service for students,” Güneş said. “In fact, our new international relations degrees have a track in intelligence, diplomacy and security that offer a variety of courses preparing our students for careers in the government.

“Moreover, students in all of our majors and graduate programs will be well prepared for pursuing careers working for non-governmental and international organizations aiming to improve various aspects of the human condition.” 

New initiatives from the School of Politics and Global Studies hope to grow interest in public service involvement through new conferences and courses.

“We aim to boost our students' involvement in Model United Nations. In partnership with the Model UN club, we will host a collegiate level conference at ASU ... in November. Moreover, we are offering a revamped Model UN course in fall 2024. Students participating in these opportunities will be well positioned for careers in diplomacy as well as international organizations,” he said.  

Here are just some of the ways students can gain real-world experience in public service. 

Internships and programs

Capital Scholars Program

The Capital Scholars Program is designed to help students experience Washington, D.C., while earning upper division credits. The program allows participants to work at organizations that interest them, such as the White House, courts or advocacy groups, while learning from top officials and experts on public service. 

Logan Higgins, a student in the School of Politics and Global Studies, worked for the U.S. Supreme Court in their public information office last summer through the program and the McCain Institute. 

Diplomat-in-Residence Program

Last August, ASU expanded its relationship with the State Department with the new Diplomat-in-Residence program. Antoinette Hurtado currently serves as the Diplomat-in-Residence for the Southwest and works as a resource and recruiter for ASU students and alumni looking to begin a career in the State Department. 

Hurtado has worked as a foreign service officer for over 19 years with experience in overseas assignments and serving as an advance officer for the Secretary of State. Every semester, ASU hosts in-person and virtual events with Hurtado and she is a direct resource for internship, fellowship and career opportunities.

Ambassador-in-Residence program

ASU’s Ambassador-in-Residence Michael C. Polt hosts monthly Zoom office hours for students interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy or careers within diplomatic and international affairs.

Policy Design Studio and Internship Program

The Policy Design Studio and Internship Program allows participants to live in Washington, D.C., and get a look at the behind-the-scenes of how foreign policy is made. 

Students become involved in organizations that interest them, such as federal departments, law firms, advocacy groups and museums, and meet with prominent experts to discuss a range of policy challenges. As part of the program, participants will also have a chance to discuss, debate and develop strategies to aid in future U.S. relations. 

Humanities Lab’s Diplomacy Lab

ASU’s Diplomacy Lab takes students to Brazil, where they learn interdisciplinary and project-based approaches to address social challenges. In collaboration with the U.S. State Department’s own Diplomacy Lab, the course helps students collaborate to research real-life problems and solutions.

This past spring, students that took part in the lab traveled to Washington, D.C., to present their research on climate change mitigation strategies in Brazil. They were able to speak to diplomats, government officials and professors from across the country and the U.S. State Department. 

Model UN Conference

The 15th Annual SunMUN will take place in November. The Model UN Conference typically consists of a high school competition, but will include a collegiate level for the first time this year. The School of Politics and Global Studies is partnered with the Model UN club in a new initiative. 

Degrees and courses

Bachelor’s degree in international affairs

A new on-ground and online degree offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies will allow students to dive into security, intelligence, diplomacy and international trade and law and institutions with instruction from experts and policy practitioners. Students’ work will explore the international implications of political, economic and climatic challenges.

Master’s degree in international affairs and leadership

This online program will allow students to become successful leaders in diplomacy and national security. Those enrolled will interact with U.S. ambassadors, flag-rank officers, senior state and defense officials, and senior congressional staff as they learn to navigate the global arena. 

Master’s degree in global security

This program features a fully online curriculum that is designed to provide students with professional guidance for careers in the government, military, nonprofit and private sector. Students will learn how to engage in international security issues and study the impact it has on daily lives. 

POS 394 Democratic Resilience in the Digital Age 

This course focuses on government communicators and their role in building democratic resilience through digital communication platforms. Students will learn about the experiences from professionals working in the strategic digital communications field and what it is like to work within the industry through research and discussions. 

POS 394/SGS 394 Topic: Model UN

This revamped course will help students navigate U.N. diplomacy through the simulation of Model UN and discussion surrounding international peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. Students will explore the theoretical, historical and organizational foundations of the U.N.

TCL 494/POS 494 – Latina/o Politics and Leadership in Arizona

Taught by Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Associate Dean of Strategic Charter Initiatives Lisa Magaña, this course will examine historical, contemporary, traditional and nontraditional political and leadership issues in Arizona. Previous students of this course met with state legislators on the floor of the state Senate and state House of Representatives.

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