By the time Benjamin Rowles graduated in 2018, he had already had a hand in public policy in a number of different roles. The Canadensis, PA native was a Schreyer Honors Scholar, an English major, and a 2018 student marshal for the College of the Liberal Arts. During his time at Penn State, he volunteered with Housing Transitions (a nonprofit organization serving homeless residents of Centre County), interned at the Public Interest Law Center, participated in City Year Philadelphia as an AmeriCorps Member, and worked with the U.S. Department of State as both a Cultural Programs Intern and an Education Programs Intern.
His interests in foreign policy led him to consider graduate studies and the Marshall Scholarship, for which he was a University nominee in 2018. The application process proved invaluable in helping Ben to frame his goals. “Working with the University Fellowships Office on my Marshall application helped me transition from thinking about “what I want to be” to “what I want to do,” which is a deeper question. It taught me to worry less about my future title and more about the difference I want to make in the world,” he says. After graduation, Ben pursued his interests in policy first as an Economic and Commercial Affairs Intern with the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and then as a fellow with the Friends Committee on National Legislation in DC. Ultimately, his experiences led him to where he wanted to be. He reports, “While I didn’t receive the Marshall Scholarship, during the application process I passed the exams to enter the U.S. Foreign Service as a diplomat. That was my goal all along, and I think the fellowship preparation I did with UFO provided me with skills that helped me achieve it.”