“Studying abroad was an unexpected decision,” Preston said. “My dream career was to become an aviation executor with the hopes of expanding the industry at large. Last summer I had an internship with Jet Blue in New York, and it really presented me with some great opportunities.”
Now at the middle of the road in his college career, Preston continues to seek experiences to broaden his horizons academically and professionally. The field study in Russia presented him the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in his political science major and geography minor, the two main focuses of the trip. While in Russia, Preston examined various government and social institutions, and he also took time to enjoying the sights.
“I don’t want to limit myself,” Preston said. “Who knows in 10 years where my initial career path will take me.”
Upon his return to the United States, he began an internship in San Francisco at the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), a non-governmental organization dedicated to economic reform in Russia. Preston broadened his career experience, and he discovered that combining business and international politics in the competitive internship was perfect for him.
“I did all sorts of things while I was at CCI – research and analysis of Russian industries, and I compared the results to American industries, made briefing packets for delegates and helped facilitate networking for Russian businesses in America,” Preston said. “I also helped to garner as much political support as possible to push the Russian agenda.”
Preston understands the ongoing need to bring Russian economic policies to the forefront of Washington’s political agenda.
“It is frustrating for an organization to push for more cohesive policies of economic reform when the politics of Washington, D.C., are governed by immediate domestic crisis that wipe out any previous efforts that have led up to any sort of hope that such policies may be implemented,” he said.
Preston ’s efforts to help reform Russian economic policies will not stop with the end of his summer internship. Based upon an offer made to him at the end of his internship experience, Preston hopes to travel to Washington with CCI to introduce Russian delegates to members of the U.S. Congress, and he will work to convince Congress to develop appropriate policies that will ensure prosperous ties between the countries.
Preston credits Wittenberg for preparing him for what lies ahead.
“A well-rounded education helps me to interact freely and conversantly with individuals and ideas that are contrary to my own,” Preston said. “It also makes me eager to get out and put ideas into practice so that one day we can relate to those we are communicating with.”
While Preston seeks to embrace the rest of his college experience, he anticipates when he will be able to apply his completed Wittenberg education to post-graduation opportunities.
“I’m eager to put myself out there in a world far more complex than academia and textbooks, and to interact with a globally-dynamic community that thrives off of innovation and competition,” he said.
- Written By: Kimie James ‘07
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