Alumnus returns to speak of overseas experiences

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Jennifer McIntyre, class of ’87, started off her first day at the Turkish Embassy in 1996 on the borders of Turkey looking for American refugees from Iraq.

During the height of Saddam Hussein’s power, Kurdish people and other persecuted people crossed the Iraq-Turkey border.  McIntyre spent two weeks looking for Americans.  Now, fourteen years later, McIntyre will return to the Middle East in July to become the U.S. Consulate in Pakistan for a year.

As a U.S. Consulate, she will “first and foremost protect U.S. citizens overseas,” said McIntyre.  If an American citizen has a problem, the U.S. Consulate has an obligation to help them.

The other component of her job is issuing Visas .  “Right now, in my job covering the Middle East, we have extensive checks [on anyone desiring a Visa],” McIntyre said.

America’s safety is not the only issue.  The individual needs to have enough ties to his or her original country so that he or she will return and not try to stay in the U.S.to work illegally.

When McIntyre returned to JC, she spoke to the first level Russian and Chinese classes, along with other Russian students during mods one through three on March 26. Russian teacher Ed Miller brought McIntyre back to speak about her experiences.

“[McIntyre] has so much to share.  She was the top Foreign Service officer in Washington [as a result of recieving the Leamon R. Hunt Award for Management Excellence in 2005].  I think that she is inspirational for JC students,” Miller said.

McIntyre contributes the opportunities at JC and emphasis on writing as helping her succeed in her career.  “On Fridays, Sr. Agnes would give us a book or poem and tell us we had to write an essay right there.  They were getting us ready for the AP Exam, but frankly that has become my job,” McIntyre said.

She thinks JC “makes critical thinkers.  If you are not a critical thinker, then I don’t think you are able to supervise or have senior jobs because you need to be able to see problems,” said McIntyre.

After graduating JC, McIntyre attended the University of Virginia as a Russian major.  She graduated in 1991, and her brother pushed her to take the Foreign Service exam.  A year later, the State Department offered her a job.  “I thought I’ll try it for a couple of years and see if I like it.  It’s just an incredible career,” McIntyre said.

Besides Turkey, McIntyre has lived in AzerbaijanCambodia, and Eritrea.

McIntyre emphasized communication skills for all students.  “It’s not necessarily to be understood, but to make sure it cannot be misunderstood,” she said.

For any student interested in the international studies, she advises “experiencing other cultures.”

International students should be willing to “try new things and different foods.  They are people constantly looking for something new,” McIntyre said.

Rachel Kokoska can be reached for comment at rkokoska@jcpatriot.com.

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