Recent Alumni Spotlight: Marie Steinrucke
June 08, 2012
While Marie Steinrucke’s classmates at Lewis & Clark may have never expected her to join the army after graduating in December 2010, that’s exactly what she did. An international student from Demark, Marie was accepted into the highly competitive Language Officer Program of the Royal Danish Army after earning a degree in Political Science from Lewis & Clark.
3CE: What does your position entail? Describe a typical day for you.
Marie Steinrucke: If you had asked my friends at L&C what I would end up working as after college they would probably never have expected me to join the army, but that’s exactly what I did. I am currently attending the language officer school of the Royal Danish Army. It is a three year program comprised of boot camp, a year of language and cultural training, and a specialization course. The program culminates in a six month deployment. Since I am learning Pashto, a language spoken in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, I will be deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan next year. In Afghanistan I will function as an army interpreter and special cultural advisor as part of the Danish combat troops.
On a typical day I attend morning drill at 0750 hours followed by six hours of language classes and an hour of physical exercise. Some days I have additional afternoon classes on Islam and social structure in Afghanistan. After school I typically have 6-7 hours of homework, which does not leave much free time.
3CE: How did you find out about this opportunity?
MS: The language officer program is a well-known and highly competitive program in Denmark. I actually considered applying right after high school, but realizing I had better chances of being accepted with a college degree I waited and made the cut.
3CE: What skills and competencies did you emphasize during the application process that resonated with the recruiters?
MS: Along with my transcripts and recommendation letter from professors and previous employers I brought a positive attitude along with me to the interviews. The trick is to be outgoing, confident, and to exude professionalism without seeming arrogant.
3CE: How has your liberal arts education prepared you for life beyond college?
MS: One would think there to be irreconcilable differences between a liberal arts college and the army, but critical thinking and a strong work ethic will get you far in every profession. At L&C, students are constantly encouraged to consider different perspectives and to adhere to the highest possible academic standards. In my experience these skills may be transferred to any future walks of life.
3CE: What advice would you give recent graduates getting ready to enter the workforce?
MS: Be creative and avoid news about high unemployment rates. Be the ‘yes-man’ and accept any and all opportunities you are offered. Graduating college in this job market is tough, but it also forces young graduates to think outside the box and to be creative. Bold ideas, not money, make the world go round!
3CE: What has surprised you most about life after college?
MS: That ‘the real life’, as college students like to call it, isn’t so different after all. Also that most adults don’t have their lives completely planed out. Life really is what happens while you’re making other plans!