Meet Social Science Scholar Jessica Middleton

For my Social Science Scholars project, I designed a leadership project oriented around my position as Director of the World Affairs Program here at FSU. As Director of this program, I spent the summer organizing and directing a highly skilled team of leaders to develop training strategy, professional support and mentorship, and a well-rounded curriculum of pressing international affairs issues to further promote the success of the talented students who participate in our program. Over the fall, I will also be completing an internship with the United States Agency for International Development within the Legislative and Public Affairs branch. At this internship I work with the public engagement team in order to develop outreach strategies and contact databases in order to deliver the message of USAID.

My leadership project has given me the opportunity to really focus on my leadership skills and ability to serve as a mentor for other students on campus. Applying many of the principles learned in the seminar class, I was able to learn how to facilitate other leaders by directing and advising my officer corps. I have headed projects such as the management of our program budget, development of a two-tiered training strategy, and expanding our programs outreach to other universities in order to recruit them to attend our ranked conference, NoleMUN. Directly overseeing six highly qualified leaders has allowed me to put into action a lot of knowledge that was gained about managing group dynamics, and I have been able to not only lead the team, but share this knowledge with them as well as they serve as leaders to the rest of our program. One of my favorite experiences has been getting to plan the events and tryouts for our new members, many of whom have never been able to experience in-person collegiate events. We hosted a training conference, where around 40 new members were able to compete in a simulated Model United Nations committee. We were able to build up their skill sets and provide direct mentorship and live feedback as they learned the ropes of competing in a Model United Nations conference. This experience was very meaningful to me, as it was my first opportunity to lead the team and oversee the development of my peers at Florida State University.

My internship at USAID has given me the opportunity to operate as a full member of the team, being assigned my own projects and initiatives. I mainly compile information on potential outreach opportunities or contacts, which requires me to take on a lot of initiative in thinking towards the future of USAID and thinking about how to build the brand in a meaningful and methodical way. I have been able to obtain direct mentorship from my highly capable coworkers and supervisors as I work closely with my team and am able to learn from their unique skill sets and experiences. I have been able to obtain very valuable information about how to become employed with the federal government and how to build up a long term career.

Social Science Scholars has allowed me to have the opportunity to build up my leadership skills through the application of technical knowledge as a student leader on campus. I am grateful to have had the support of the university and my peers within the SSS program as I have gone on my way to undertake this project, and I look forward to leaning on them for support as I continue my career.

Jessica is a third-year student from Palm Coast, pursuing a dual degree in international affairs and political science with a minor in economics. She also is earning an emergency management and homeland security certificate. Jessica aspires to become a policy expert and writer in international affairs, so that she can help create solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. As an intern with the office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Florida House of Representatives and the City of Palm Coast, she has worked with different levels of government on multiple projects. On campus, Jessica serves as vice director of the World Affairs Program, FSU’s top-ten Model United Nations team. In that role she selects and organizes team discussion and preparation on a wide range of international issues.

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