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Worldly Student Heads Off to State Department Internship

Amid all the excitement to be found in Washington, D.C., in this presidential inaugural month, UC student Paul Kruchoski will be starting an internship with the U.S. Department of State and trying to determine if a future in diplomacy is the right path for his own personal success.

Date: 1/5/2009
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photos By: Ashley Kempher
Itís exciting under ordinary circumstances for a student to have an internship in Washington, D.C., but the one that third-year UC student Paul Kruchoski starts today promises to be particularly notable.
Paul Kruchoski
Paul Kruchoski, seen outside of McMicken Hall

It has everything to do with the timing and type of assignment Kruchoski will be starting.

The timing, of course, involves the exceptional events that Washington will witness this month Ė not just the inauguration of a new U.S. president, but the historic occasion of the first African-American being sworn into that office.

The change is obviously more than symbolic, as Washington moves in a new direction with a new administration that views its role in world affairs differently than has the Bush administration.

Kruchoski will be interning with the U.S. Department of State, so it promises to be a dynamic time within that sector of the government.

"As a human rights scholar, I am really interested to see what is going to happen Ė the incredible change in human rights policy," says Kruchoski. "Human rights have been ignored for eight years, everything has gone down in direction, so Iím looking forward to seeing the blossoming of this new policy."

Kruchoski will be working in the State Departmentís Bureau of International Organization Affairs. That office oversees diplomatic relationships between our nation and international groups such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

Itís a good match for a student who already has had quite an interesting undergraduate career.

Kruchoski playing cello
Kruchoski originally came to UC to study cello, and still plays in the CCM Student Orchestra.

Originally from Albuquerque, N.M., Kruchoski was drawn to UC by the opportunities found in the College-Conservatory of Music, where he came to study cello. But the University Honors student found his interests expanding once he reached campus.

"I decided that I love music, but also want to be able to help other people, and that motivation helped send me in some new directions," he says.

Kruchoski still plays in the CCM Concert Orchestra, takes cello lessons and worked for the Santa Fe Opera this past summer in education and community outreach, but academically at UC, he transitioned to being an interdisciplinary studies major in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, pursuing an individualized degree in international human rights.

On campus, heís been working three days a week on the staff of the UC College of Lawís highly regarded Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights and has become heavily involved in UCís Model United Nations team.

He is the current president of UCís Model UN and Political Science Student Association, having just helped that group to "Best Overall Delegation" honors this fall at the American Model United Nations event held in Chicago that attracted 1,400 students from more than 90 different institutions.

Kruchoski himself also won a top individual honor at the event, and that success may be only a prelude to an even bigger opportunity Ė Kruchoski and seven others from UC will be traveling to The Hague in March for the World Model UN event, marking the first time that UC has sent a team to that top international competition.

All these campus experiences helped steer Kruchoski in the right direction last summer when he sent his resume to the State Department, indicating he was interested in internship and part-time positions. His strong interest in human rights and international organizations pointed right to the office where he has landed.

What happens next promises to be an outstanding learning experience, due to the dynamic situation and timing of real-world events in Washington.

"I have no idea precisely what Iím going to be doing," Kruchoski says. "The big thing that is going to happen starting basically the day after the inauguration is taking all of the directives we get from the White House and turning them into policy papers that will go to all of the diplomats. That means a lot of background research."

Kruchoskiís orientation for his new position was helped by monitoring a blog kept by one of the fall interns in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Heís excited about the prospects of exploring humanitarian topics in researching position papers, and also by the possibility of traveling to New York to take part in unofficial UN meetings Ė opportunities that previous interns have sometimes had a chance to experience.

Paul Kruchoski
Paul Kruchoski

"The most important thing to me is figuring out how the federal government and our foreign relations system work," says Kruchoski of his goal for his internship. "Thereís a lot of writing and textbooks that describe how it should work, but I want to see the difference between textbooks and reality. And of course itís an opportunity to see if this is really what I want to do with my career."

The fact that it is coming against the backdrop of dramatic political and historical change just adds to the level of excitement.

"Iím excited to be in Washington both for the inauguration and all of the change that is going to happen right after it," Kruchoski says. "I donít know what Iíll be doing during the inauguration or if Iíll be able to see it firsthand, but Iím sure itís going to be an interesting time one way or another."