Erin Bourque
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My Story

Originally from Dover, NH, Erin was very active in high school–she was captain of the varsity field hockey team, competed on math team, and learned to build computers through an independent study. With such a diverse set of interests, it was difficult to choose an undergraduate course of study. She chose Northeastern because of its emphasis on cultivating marketable skills, such as foreign language fluency, as well as foundation skills of writing clearly and reading critically. Erin is a combined Political Science and International Affairs major with a concentration in Security Studies and minors in Russian and History.

Here is Erin’s story…



My Path
My Path

Why Political Science and International Affairs?

Studying International Affairs seemed a logical choice considering Erin’s experience with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship and Political Science a perfect complement given her personal upbringing. “I grew up with news and political commentary shows constantly on the TV and radio, interning for a Democratic congresswoman and attending Republican political rallies, and speaking across the country as a youth activist.”  She adds, “I grew up valuing my voice and its power, its ability to affect positive change and responsibility to do so. Still, I knew I wouldn’t be nearly as effective without being well-informed and engaged with the world.”

Academic honors Convocation
Erin on Co-op Job
Co-op Experiences and Fellowships

Erin has completed two research-based co-ops at the Center for Resilience Studies at Northeastern and its successor, the Global Resilience Institute.  She was able to dive headfirst into a truly multidisciplinary approach to security – resilience, or the ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from any threat, man-made or otherwise.  Bolstering resilience requires an understanding of systemic interdependencies and, therefore, a knowledge of a variety of subjects.  Her work has examined everything from dam management practices in South Carolina to cybersecurity concerns and gray zone conflict.  Erin also pursued a summer research experience funded through the Summer Scholars Independent Research Fellowship, focusing on utilizing imperfect produce as one component of a larger solution to reduce food waste in the U.S.

Transformative Coursework and Experiential Learning

Erin felt the most transformative course in her undergraduate education was INTL 3400 International Conflict and Negotiation with Professor Kimberly Jones. “At the heart of this class is a lesson in empathy, and by extension, introspection.  These are simple things we could all stand to learn from.”

Regarding experiential learning, Erin states she has had the ability to volunteer as a case management intern at a local nonprofit, and volunteer as an English teacher with an on-campus organization. Her time abroad allowed her to study and research in six countries for a cumulative total of 16 months.  “These are experiences that have made me a better problem-solver, a more critical thinker, a more effective communicator and more adaptable to dynamic environments, all of which make for more effective leaders and change-makers.”


Erin in Bratislava, Slovakia
Civic Engagement

Erin was a Case Management Intern at ABCD South End where she facilitated execution of programs including Cradles to Crayons, food pantry, seasonal fuel assistance, housing searches, tax preparation and career/resume workshops.  On campus, Erin is an English Tutor with NUTELLS where she designs weekly, individualized lesson plans and activities for vocabulary expansion, accent reduction, practical conversation fluency, and reading comprehension.  She is also a Tour Guide with Husky Ambassadors and previously a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant for two Russian language courses.

Erin on Dialogue in Lithuania (photo by Alex Melagrano)
Experiences Abroad

Through Dialogues and Study Abroad, Erin was able to experience the Baltic States, Russia and Kazakhstan.

The Dialogue “The Baltic States Before and After Communism” brought her to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. With the foundational knowledge from this Dialogue, Erin was able to secure an international co-op in the Political/Economic section at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania.

For Study Abroad, Erin was a recipient of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, which allowed her to study Russian in Vladimir, Russia.  Erin also received the Melikian Scholars Award from the Critical Languages Institute at Arizona State. This enabled her to study Russia in St. Petersburg.  And finally, with funding from the National Security Education Program, Erin studied in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Next Steps

Erin aims to become a Foreign Service Officer.  The multiple opportunities to study abroad at Northeastern allows her to gain advanced language training.  She also gained over a full year of full-time work experience related to the advancement of national security and resilience.  Erin found these experiences valuable preparation for graduate school and her goal of joining the U.S. Foreign Service.