Forrest Gatrell has always been interested in politics—and even more passionate about public service. “You would think that all politicians see themselves as public servants, but it doesn’t always work out like that,” said Forrest, a senior in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
After immersion in his studies at IU, Forrest decided that his dream career was in Washington, D.C., in international relations. He applied for an internship with the U.S. Department of State, which required a detailed application, many conversations with recruiters, and several interviews. Time went by without any news. Forrest went to France for a semester abroad. Then, one morning, he received a phone call offering him the internship at the U.S. Department of State as an intern in the Foreign Service Institute.
Forrest found housing in D.C. and spent the summer of 2019 learning from the full-time staff alongside 200 peer interns from 18 states and universities throughout the United States. Interns provided support to bureaucrats from around the nation.
Upon completing his internship, Forrest wanted to help other IU students find their passion in public service and international relations. Now, he has been named IU’s Foreign Affairs Campus Coordinator. Forrest’s role is to connect interested students to opportunities and host campus events that highlight such international observances as World AIDS Day.
Forrest suggests that students considering a career in public service should ask themselves what they’re passionate about and where they can make an impact.
Volunteering through IU Corps can be a great way to discover a passion that ignites a path toward change. As Forrest finishes his senior year, he is applying to be a Fulbright Scholar, which would allow him to teach English in another country.
Forrest found his passion by connecting with an organization that shared his values of integrity, honesty, accountability, and diversity. “Ultimately, I learned how to serve something higher than myself. I look forward to helping others do the same.”