New Diplomat in Residence Visits ODU
Julie A. Ruterbories, the U.S. Department of State's newest Diplomat in Residence for the Mid-Atlantic region, visited Old Dominion University this week to promote internship and career opportunities in Foreign Service.
Ruterbories, who is based in North Carolina with offices at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, began her two-year assignment in September. Tuesday marked her first trip to ODU.
As a Diplomat in Residence, Ruterbories is responsible for providing guidance and advice to students, professionals and the community about internships and career opportunities at U.S. consulates and embassies around the world.
During her 21-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, Ruterbories has held posts in Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Washington, D.C. Most recently, from 2009-12, she served as the consul general in Amsterdam where she worked to advance U.S.-Dutch relations through commercial, cultural and academic interactions. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in history and Soviet studies from Georgetown University and a graduate degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Ruterbories speaks German, French, Spanish, Russian and Macedonian and is currently studying Dutch. She is married to Dan R. Hildreth, who is also a Foreign Service Officer, according to biographical information.
While at ODU, Ruterbories discussed "The Emergence of New China" with Qiu Jin's History 336 class and spent more than an hour talking with an engaged group of international studies majors during an informational session co-sponsored by the Career Management Center and the Graduate Program in International Studies. A student/faculty open house was held in her honor at the Kornblau Alumni Center.
During the informational session, Ruterbories shared her background and how she came to be a career Foreign Service Officer. The daughter of a German immigrant, who arrived in the U.S. in the 1950s, Ruterbories said she moved overseas for the first time when she was 2 years old and completed high school in London.
She emphasized the Department of State's interest in candidates with varying backgrounds - particularly women, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and individuals with disabilities.
"For the last 15 to 20 years, the department has focused on expanding awareness and opportunities for underrepresented groups," she told the students.
Ruterbories said the department doesn't require an undergraduate degree for employment; however, nearly all Foreign Service Officers have one, and 70 percent hold advanced degrees. She also advised students on navigating the department's hiring processes, including taking entrance exams and avoiding security clearance pitfalls.
"Opportunities with the State Department, federal government, can be so profoundly rewarding, don't do anything that would jeopardize your ability to do that," she said. Later, Ruterbories touched on the competitive nature of the process, noting, "There are thousands more qualified candidates than there are positions available."
Bo Yi, an employer recruiting consultant and co-liaison to the College of Business and Public Administration at ODU's Career Management Center, said she has talked with Ruterbories about a possible return to ODU for a spring or fall career fair.
"It sounds like she has a tremendous amount of experience," Yi said. "We're excited to have her."