Shannon Brophy, the CIB’s recruitment officer, will be spending the spring 2019 semester in the Sultanate of Oman as an intern with the United States Department of State. Shannon, a long-time member of the CIB, who currently heads the organization’s Middle East Desk, will join the US embassy in Oman’s capital, Muscat, as part of the US Department of State’s Student Internship Program. It is the first time that a Coastal Carolina University student has been awarded this highly competitive and prestigious US government internship.
Oman, a predominantly Muslim country located next to war-torn Yemen on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, was Shannon’s first choice when she applied for the internship. Starting in January, Shannon will intern with the US Embassy’s Regional Security Office (RSO), whose mission is to protect US diplomatic facilities, personnel, and information. Earlier this week, we spoke to Shannon about her impressive success.
Q: What does getting this internship mean to you?
A: Getting this internship means so much to me. Ever since I was in high school I dreamed of getting a job in the government doing important work like this. This internship places me so much closer to getting a full-time job in this field after I graduate! Also, I have been working so hard at Coastal to get me to this point. It is great knowing that all of that hard work has been paying off.
Q: You have been specializing in the Middle East for years. Why that area?
A: I started getting interested in the Middle East primarily because I loved the different culture and language. I actually started to learn the Arabic Language in high school, before I got interested in Middle Eastern politics. Once I joined Coastal and got involved in the CIB, my love for the language and culture intertwined with my love for politics, and I’ve been hooked on Middle Eastern politics since.
Q: You have been involved in the CIB since your first semester at CCU. How has it shaped your work and skills as a Middle East analyst?
A: The CIB has done so much for me since I started at Coastal. When I first got to Coastal, I thought that I knew so much about politics –man, was I wrong! I had to go into so much depth for CIB research that I gained substantial regional expertise in multiple different topics within the Middle East. In addition to joining the club, taking the actual CIB class helped me improve my writing and presenting skills exponentially. And more recently, I have gotten to improve my leadership skills, because during the past two semesters I have been honored to head the CIB’s Middle East desk. This has been my favorite thing I have done so far in the CIB.
Q: What is your advice to other CIB members about succeeding in this competitive field?
A: My advice for them is to do anything that sets them apart from the others. For me, that was learning a critical language and doing multiple language immersion programs. It is so important in this field to be different than all the other applicants. Also, don’t be afraid to apply to “big” internships or jobs just because they are “hard to get into”. Always at least try, it can never hurt!