The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

ULM welcomes visit from LA State Department diplomat


ULM’s College of Business and Social Sciences invited Economic Foreign Officer Shane Hough from the State Department to give a presentation to students and faculty. Hough discussed several topics, such as his beginnings in Louisiana and the role of the State Department.

Before becoming a state diplomat, Hough lived on a farm with his family in Rayville, Louisiana. He stated that he was one of the last graduates from Holly Ridge High School before it closed. After graduating, Hough joined the Peace Corps and traveled across the world. It was the Peace Corps that got Hough interested in politics and influenced what he wanted his career to be.

“I got out [of college] and joined the Peace Corps, which really put me in the channel of international affairs and global politics,” Hough said. “It is just incredibly interesting how different countries interact with one another.”

Hough continued to speak of his background, emphasizing that even someone with small-town beginnings can do something to help maintain relations with other nations.

“A lot of people won’t try something out because they feel too underqualified or don’t have a story to sell,” Hough said. “Apply for everything, try for everything because you never know.”

Hough’s words resonated with Toby Green, a junior political science major. Green talked about his experience missing out on new opportunities.

 “I’ve been guilty of skipping out on stuff because I didn’t think I’d be a good fit for it,” Green said. “Hearing [Hough] talk about his experiences gives me hope that even when I don’t think I’m a good fit for something, I could be chosen for it anyway.”

 Hough also explained the role and function of the State Department. This governmental body paves the way for the U.S.’s foreign policy. There are Foreign Service Officers, Foreign Service Specialists and Civil Services within the State Department. They participate in tasks regarding diplomacy with other nations, assisting Americans who may have issues with their passport. The State Department aids Americans arrested in different countries and even plays a crucial part in combating human trafficking.  

After explaining the importance of the State Department, Hough highlighted several internships and scholarships the department offers. There is a fellowship program where students can work with professionals in fields ranging from IT to architecture to gain insight into how U.S. foreign policy operates. This internship is all-expenses paid with the choice of working in Washington, D.C., or being sent abroad.

“I know I want to go to law school but knowing that something like FSOs is out there gives me something else to consider for my future,” Green said.

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