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 graduated in 2019 with a Political Science and International Affairs combined 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 was a logical choice for Erin, considering her experience with the National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship and Political Science. It was a perfect complement to her 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 added, “I grew up valuing my voice and its power, its ability to effect 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 at her co-op
Research Experiences

Erin 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. Her work 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 Learning Experiences

The most transformative single course for Erin 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,” she explains.

Erin in Bratislava, Slovakia
Learning Through 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 was an English Tutor with NUTELLS where she designed weekly, individualized lesson plans and activities for vocabulary expansion, accent reduction, practical conversation fluency, and reading comprehension.  She was also a Tour Guide with Husky Ambassadors and a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant for two Russian language courses.

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

Erin has pursued Dialogues of Civilization and other study and co-op abroad experiences in six different countries, over a total of sixteen months. A dialogue on “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. A U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship allowed her to study Russian in Vladimir, Russia, and a Melikian Center Fellowship from Arizona State University brought her to St. Petersburg.  Finally, with funding from the National Security Education Program, Erin studied in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “These are experiences,” reflects Erin, “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.”

Next Steps

In her senior year, Erin received a Pickering Fellowship, which supports a two-year master’s program to prepare her for her long-dreamed-of career in the Foreign Service. Erin has completed one of  two summer internships with the U.S. Department of State—one in the United States and the other in Lithuania. “There are a lot of ways you can serve your country, and this is my way,” she said.

Since graduation, Erin has begun pursuing a Masters in Public Policy with a concentration in International and Global Affairs at Harvard University with an anticipated graduation date of 2021.