Critical Language Scholarship Program | Lauren Sooy

Lauren Sooy

“Although beginning my civil service career amidst a pandemic was a bit unusual, I’m grateful to be contributing my skills and knowledge to the U.S. government’s coronavirus response efforts.”

Lauren, an alumna of the 2017 CLS Indonesian program, landed a position in early 2020 as a Stabilization Advisor for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) at the U.S. Department of State. CSO rapidly deploys stabilization experts and provides data-backed analytics to embassies and the interagency in order to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflicts that threaten U.S. national security interests. In her role, Lauren manages programming in Burma aimed at preventing intercommunal conflict, and monitors conflict risks in Indonesia.

Lauren is one of the first CLS alumni to successfully use non-competitive eligibility (NCE) status to be hired at the Department of State. Beginning in 2017, CLS alumni who successfully complete the program are awarded NCE status, a special hiring authority granted by the U.S. government for Civil Service employment. CLS alumni can use this status when applying for federal Civil Service jobs to help streamline the process.

Lauren encourages all aspiring public servants to apply for CLS, regardless of their field of study, as the qualities it builds are applicable in any discipline. “Exposure to other cultures, developing resilience and adaptability, and gaining the ability to empathize with other populations are some of the best takeaways from the CLS experience. International exchanges make the world feel much smaller. They humanize news stories that may otherwise feel distant and bring them closer to the heart. There is also no comparison to in-country language studies; students make huge gains in fluency and confidence that would take eons in a classroom.”

While completing her Master’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, Lauren worked as a graduate research assistant studying environmental policy in Indonesia. She applied to the CLS Program as a way to deepen her understanding of Indonesian language and culture. Lauren’s CLS experience helped prepare her for her work at the Department of State by providing her with uncommon Indonesian language skills and a more nuanced understanding of Indonesian culture.

Now more than ever, Lauren is grateful for her strong State Department network and Indonesian host community for helping her land her dream job. Her CLS background has positioned her to better understand the role of the country’s culture, history, and language in the current global context.

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Lauren Sooy
Lauren Sooy

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Posted Date

September 21, 2020