jean-preston-accentsJean Preston, the Department of State Diplomat in Residence at the University of Oklahoma, will make two presentations at Missouri Southern State University as part of the university’s annual Study Abroad Fair on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Preston will present “Internships and Careers with the U.S. Department of State” at 1 p.m. in the Phelps Theater of the Billingsly Student Center (BSC). At 2 p.m., she will move to Webster Hall 106 and discuss the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Among the State Department’s 70,000 employees are 13,800 Americans who work in foreign service – 8,000 generalists and 5,800 specialists. Another 45,350 are employed at overseas missions; the majority of these are non-U.S. citizens. The State Department has more than 270 posts abroad in 190 countries.

Preston will address how individuals can become an FSO (Foreign Service Officer), key reasons to join the foreign service, foreign service benefits, and various career tracks.

In the CLS presentation, Preston will discuss the State Department’s goals to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages, the 13 targeted languages, how to apply for a scholarship, and eligibility requirements. She will also emphasize the value of studying abroad, including her own experience and how it helped prepare her for the Foreign Service.

Preston joined the State Department in 1986 as a career Foreign Service Officer and has worked overseas and in Washington, D.C., with a focus on Latin America, Italy, and Environment, Science, Technology, and Health affairs. Her most recent assignment was as counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. She currently is assigned as the Diplomat in Residence at the University of Oklahoma, covering a region that includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Arkansas, and Missouri.

MSSU will hold its annual Study Abroad Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Connor Ballroom of the BSC.

The fair will feature short-term trips led by MSSU faculty as well as opportunities for students to spend an entire semester abroad.