Lianne Gonsalves ’10 Gains Foreign Service Experience at the United States Embassy in Honduras

Park Scholar Lianne Gonsalves, a senior biological sciences and international studies major, served as an intern this summer at the United States Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

A political coup took place in Tegucigalpa several weeks into her experience and Lianne was called on to assist Embassy staff with a variety of responsibilities beyond the scope of a traditional internship. The first coup in Central America since the Cold War resulted in government-implemented curfews, street protests and public demonstrations. As a result, during her time working in the Consular Section, Lianne assumed responsibility for the Embassy’s Crisis Hotline where she fielded calls from American citizens both in Honduras and the United States. In addition, she interacted with U.S. citizens residing in Honduras to disseminate Embassy information and recommendations.

”This internship was a unique lesson in United States foreign policy and 21st century diplomacy in action. I was privileged to be a part of an Embassy which came together efficiently to handle the political crisis, ensuring that the United States remained prepared for and informed of events as they unfolded,” said Gonsalves.

The remainder of Lianne’s summer involved duties in the Political Section of the Embassy. She was responsible for drafting situation reports for the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also participated in daily meetings chaired by Mr. Hugo Llorens, Ambassador of the United States of America to Honduras.

Lianne was awarded the internship as a result of initial contacts she made during Learning Lab II, an experience with her classmates to Washington, D.C. led by Park Faculty Scholars Dr. Amy Grunden and Dr. Steve Margolis. Learning Lab II is a signature part of the Park Scholars program where students work alongside faculty and staff to coordinate an annual trip to the nation’s capital to study issues facing the country and discuss solutions with leaders in the public and private sector.

After graduating from North Carolina State University, Lianne intends to be a Foreign Service Officer and indicated that her internship provided ”a taste of life for the U.S. diplomatic corps in the field, affirming my career choice.”

~posted 2009.09.17