During her freshman year at the University of Washington, Eva Jacroux heard about a scholarship that allowed recipients the opportunity to learn a new language while living abroad and studying international issues. Suddenly she had a new goal–receive a Boren Scholarship.
For two years, she took classes and internships that would make her more competitive. As a political science major with a data science minor, some of the courses were directly related to her future degree. But others were related to growing her personal skills.
“I started taking French courses because I thought that I'd really like to visit somewhere in the Middle Eastern and North African region,” said Jacroux. “I know that area is really important to international politics, especially for the United States, so I figured this was the perfect time to learn.”
To help build up even more relatable skills, she also became an intern at the PNNL-Seattle campus.
“This internship allowed me to develop additional skills in areas I’m passionate about,” said Jacroux. “The best part about my time at PNNL has been the ability to critically analyze things. That’s really special here, and something I haven't found elsewhere. It’s such a diverse environment, full of so many different skill sets where I can jump around focus areas and learn from so many.”
During her internship at PNNL, Jacroux has performed a number of tasks, including working on an important project where she helped PNNL better understand the role a federal research laboratory can play in an urban tech cluster. This project allowed her to contextualize the role PNNL-Seattle has in the city’s technology landscape. Once COVID hit, Jacroux had to pivot her research to address how remote work might impact the role and purpose of a technology hub.
“That was my first experience working toward a long-term deadline for a large project,” said Jacroux. “The project really helped me develop skills for how to structure a research project and also taught me how to be a concise writer.”
Jacroux has also ran a data visualization project to map the capability areas of PNNL’s Computer Analytics Division in the National Security Directorate to all the germane academic units at the University of Washington that morphed into a very useful opportunity matrix. Both projects provided actionable insights for PNNL-Seattle’s director, Joseph Williams.
“Eva has an amazing future in government service ahead of her; it is exciting that PNNL was a place where she could dig into her options and where she could learn skills she wasn’t developing in her degree program,” said Williams.
A Congressional Opportunity
During the summer of 2019, Jacroux took time away from her internship at PNNL to focus on a different side of legislation and government when she accepted an internship with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York.
“I was really interested in learning more about how issues become laws,” said Jacroux. “I had planned on going to D.C. to experience it from that perspective, and then the pandemic hit. The internship became virtual but it was still an incredible experience.”
Jacroux spent most her summer performing constituent correspondence. This included tracking the issues and learning about Congresswoman Maloney’s position on each.
“There was a lot happening last summer, especially with so many overlapping crises. It was a very eventful time to be working for her,” said Jacroux. “I was able to learn so much and grow in a number of areas.”
Another skill Jacroux was developing during this time was her ability to assist with research.
“I did a lot of research on traumatic brain injury and helped Congresswoman Maloney think about policy surrounding that, especially with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Jacroux. “This also taught me how to communicate things concisely, how to research things that are effective, and how to analyze.”
Each of these new skills helped when Jacroux filled out her application for the Boren Scholarship. The Boren Scholarship is extremely competitive, and applicants need to identify how their destination will contribute to U.S. national security goals, as well further their academic and professional growth.
An International Experience
Jacroux had spent the last two years preparing for a Boren Scholarship and in the spring she received word that all her hard work had paid off by being one of the recipients of the award.
“This is a really exciting opportunity because it allows me to spend six months in a different country and engage with international issues specifically,” said Jacroux. “The issue I’m really passionate about is the intersection between national security and neocolonialism.”
Each year, the Boren Scholarship allows students to add an important international and language component to their education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. Boren Scholarships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests. Jacroux is scheduled to head to Morocco in January 2022, where she will learn Arabic first-hand, as well as focus on other issues.
“This will really help inform my career trajectory a bit more and understand exactly where in this broad issue of international policy analysis I might want to fit,” said Jacroux.
After her time in Morocco, Jacroux plans to return to PNNL to continue developing more skills.
“This has been my first real entrance into the professional work environment and my mentors here have been really supportive,” said Jacroux. “They’ve helped open my eyes to what careers are out there. And I’m really excited to see where this takes me.”