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Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Junior Interning with CSIS


For Scott City native, John Casebolt, a trip to Washington, D.C., last spring break to participate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank program, altered the route to graduation a bit for this engineering/physics and applied mathematics major and political science minor.  John was offered an internship with the CSIS, which he is currently serving in this spring.

“I was told by a few friends to sign up for the CSIS trip last spring,” John said.  “I had a great time and thought this would be a great place to intern. Because of the relationship with SEMO, I was encouraged to apply and got the internship.  There are a lot of interns here from around the world.  I am working in the Global Strategies Institute and help research facts and help put together images for presentations on the Seven Revolutions that we study.  I have the opportunity to sit in on various presentations dealing with everything from population, economy, conflicts, foreign relations, you name it, and it’s here. I have also been able to sit down at lunch and dinner with a few of the folks that help Congress decide which direction to go.  Yesterday, I had lunch with Dr. Bill Culver who is retired from the Defense Department and was on his way to Capitol Hill to speak with a few members of Congress on defense issues.  Regardless of the direction I go after graduation, whether it is scientific research, U.S. policy making or foreign relations, the connections and experiences I make here will help shape my future.”

John says his time at Southeast also will contribute to his future successes.  He says that through his classes he has gained more self confidence when speaking publicly.

“Many of my classes have helped me organize my thoughts and present them to others,”  John said.  “I’ve found that the best ideas in the world are useless if they cannot be communicated to others. The same goes for getting an ‘A’ on a research paper.  If the professor can’t understand your thoughts, then it’s not ready to turn in.”

John’s favorite moments from Southeast include seeing the dust storms and polar caps on Mars while visiting the Southeast observatory and participating in the student presentations during the CSIS trip last spring.

John joked, “Oh, and I can’t leave out passing Calculus III.  It’s always easier the second time!”
When in Cape Girardeau and not busy with class, John says he enjoys spending time with friends by barbecuing and hanging out at Buffalo Wild Wings, and he likes to go to movies with his wife.

“I tend to be a super nerd sometimes because I like to write spread sheets to calculate silly statistics, like the amount of water stored in the bodies of all the humans on the planet,” John added.  “Mostly, I like working with children. I volunteer at Peaceful Valley Camp in the summer, and my wife and I work with Operation Christmas Child (OCC).  Last year, I went to Lima Peru with OCC to hand out shoe box Christmas gifts to children in the outlying slums.  We visited several areas, including a group living and working in one of the city’s three trash dumps. The children there sift through the trash looking for anything to recycle. For many of these children, recycling is their family’s only source of income.”

“I also enjoy traveling,” John said.  “So far I would say Washington, D.C., has been my favorite travel destination.  I’m really starting to like this town. There is so much to do, and most of it we have already paid for with our tax dollars. The public transportation system is great, and most of the people I’ve met are very nice. I would never have imagined it being this way.  As for future travel, I would love to hear the sounds of the rainforest while floating down the Amazon or gasp for breath at Machu Picchu.  Other destinations would include a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza, Tibet, Toledo, going to Spain to buy a sword, Istanbul, Fiji, North Pole, Alaska -- okay, pretty much anywhere south of the North Pole.”

John passes this advice on to future Southeast students:  “Have fun, make friends, and if you get a chance, learn something.  Seriously, learn all you can -- not just from books or lectures, but from your fellow students and anyone else you get a chance to talk with. I’ve found that a few minutes in a professor’s office can be worth as much as a week in lecture.”