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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Michael Butler ’22 applies Lafayette education to State Department job

Michael Butler ’22 interned with the United Nations before taking his current State Department role. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette College Student Government)

Michael Butler ’22 is climbing the international ladder, thanks to his new job at the U.S. Department of State.

Butler worked at the United Nations (UN) as an intern during his time at Lafayette, which he said helped him gain his current position as UN General Assembly assistant in the State Department. In this role, he supports the Political Section of the U.S. Mission to the UN by taking notes, attending high-level meetings like that of the Security Council and drafting diplomatic cables, among other tasks.

For Butler, although getting involved with internships in college was stressful at times, he was even more nervous that he wouldn’t enjoy the work. His time at the UN so far has proven him wrong.

“While the federal government is not normally regarded as a warm and fluffy institution, the individuals I’ve worked with have been supportive even after my initial introduction to the UN,” Butler said.

When he was looking for post-graduate jobs, Butler utilized the connections he had made at his internship.

“My supervisor during my internship was the first person to congratulate me on this position,” Butler said.

He added that given the extreme time commitment and large responsibility, everyone involved in the UN shares a genuine passion and care for the organization.

Butler has already interacted with individuals such as the deputy secretary of state and the prime minister of Ireland on his visit to American cities. Even though he previously interned at the UN, he said that the shock factor of being part of such an esteemed organization has not yet worn off.

“I’m sure it’s possible it will at some point, but I definitely have not reached it yet,” he said.

During his time at Lafayette, Butler was the treasurer of the Student Government. This position has helped him practically in terms of budgeting and scheduling, as well as teaching him to follow his passions.

“I simply sent in an application to Student Government and held the position [of treasurer] because I liked it,” he said. “This success gave me the confidence to take the same approach later on.”

Butler said that some students, particularly government and law majors, may feel pressured to pursue law school. However, he encouraged students to not necessarily follow the obvious path and instead look into state or federal positions.

“College provides the time and bandwidth to pursue your interests,” Butler said. “Just put yourself out there.”

He explained that taking advantage of opportunities offered to him through Lafayette laid the foundations for a job he loves.

“Do not be afraid to reach out to alumni in Lafayette’s wide network and take advantage of the flexibility of the college experience,” Butler said. “You never know what may stick, and what you’ll enjoy along the way.”

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