Meet the Virtual Foreign Service Interns

fas_blaire-196x317Blaire Bloxom, Princeton University

Blaire Bloxom joined the State Department’s Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) eInternship program as an Agricultural Research Assistant in September of 2013. Prior to her selection, she spent last August traveling throughout Italy, Greece, and Turkey photographing fourth and fifth century churches for her senior thesis research. Before that adventure, she served as an Institute Intern in the Global Brand Development Department of the International Justice Mission in Washington, D.C., where she conducted research, wrote case studies, speeches, and articles.

Ms. Bloxom is currently a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey, where she studies History and Spanish. Last spring, she directed the largest student-run charity event and fundraiser on campus as well as the largest community festival in Princeton. She is also a leader in Princeton Faith and Action and gives weekly campus tours. Ms. Bloxom hopes to spend the year after graduation in a Spanish-speaking country engaging in the culture and community service while also honing her language skills. She has tentative plans of attending law school and one day working as an international lawyer practicing in both English and Spanish. Ms. Bloxom hails from the Eastern Shore of Virginia where she grew up helping her father grow oysters and listening to stories about her grandfather and great-grandfather’s careers as produce farmers. She loves being outside, especially on the water, and also enjoys traveling, reading, and learning from others.

fas_margery-306x259Margery Magill, University of California at Davis

Hi! My name is Margery Magill and I am from Yuba City in Northern California. Growing up I participated in 4-H and Future Farmers of America where I competed in speech contests, raised meat goats as a small business and developed a love for the agricultural industry. Currently I am a fourth-year student at the University of California, Davis campus pursuing a Bachelor of Science in International Agricultural Development with a concentration in Environmental Issues. I chose to apply for the U.S. Department of State’s eInternship Program because I wanted to get a taste of the work that the State Department does and see if it would be an ideal career choice for me in the future.

This past school year I studied abroad with the School for International Training (SIT) on an 8-month-long journey to Tanzania, India, New Zealand, and Mexico. The program’s focus was on the effects of urbanization and changing climate toward indigenous populations and natural resources. Thanks to my participation in the program I now have a new interest in pursuing work related to environmental policy on a global scale.

Following my grand tour around the world, I stayed home for most of the summer working at my county fair and took a class at my community college. Wanderlust got the best of me, however, and I decided to take off again right before starting school to teach English in Turkey for a month and tour a few of the neighboring countries. Now that I am back in Davis, I am excited to take on this internship and see if I can learn more about American agriculture and its influence on the rest of the world.

fas_katelyn-203x294Katelyn Vargas, West Hills College, California

Hello, my name is Katelyn Vargas. I am originally from Turlock in Central California.  While in high school I participated in the Future Farmers of America, serving as the Secretary for my chapter, competing in speech competitions, and showing livestock at our county fair. I moved to Coalinga, CA in 2011 to further my education in Fresno County, America’s leading agriculture producing county. I am currently a third year student at West Hills College majoring in Agriculture, Science, and Technology and gaining units for transfer during Fall 2014. I have obtained my Precision Agriculture Certificate and am working towards my Associates Degree. Upon transfer I plan on majoring in International Agriculture with a concentration in agriculture production.

While at West Hills College I participated in the USDA Hispanic Serving Institutions Conference in Edinburg, TX discussing my ethanol production apparatus project poster. In addition, I had the opportunity to tour the APHIS Sterile Fruit Fly Rearing Center. I also had the opportunity to intern for Topcon Precision Agriculture at the World Ag Expo assisting with Farm Show and sales duties.

To share my enthusiasm for agriculture, I served as the Agricultural Ambassador President, recruiting students at various California high schools and community events. The goal of Ag Ambassadors is to first promote higher education, second to promote a major in agriculture and third to recruit for West Hills College. I also served as the RA in the International Hall as a student peer advisor and tutor. This allowed me the opportunity to work with and advise students from Brazil, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and Russia.

My decision to apply for the VSFS eInternship was made with the purpose of getting my foot in the door of International Agriculture. Through this program, I hope to gain a broader understanding of International Agriculture while sharing with the rest of the world my love for the 300 agriculture commodities grown in my backyard.