A French and political science major finds a good fit.
A French and political science major finds a good fit.

Clayton Curran C’15 cites influential professors.

February 2017 – Clayton Curran graduated from Drew University in 2015 and found a job that leverages his knowledge of political science and French—as an assistant attaché at the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations.

Drew experiences that helped him get there include a semester studying abroad in Paris when he was a junior, a summer as a Thomas H. Kean Government Intern in 2014 and the Semester on the U.N. during his senior year.

Curran works in Economic Services, where the bulk of his day is split between completing administrative tasks and research. He even represents France for small conferences and executive board of programs such as the U.N. Development Program and the U.N. Children’s Fund. In an interview with Drew.edu, he explains how his experiences at Drew shaped his career path.

How would you describe your job?

I work for Economic Services, the equivalent of the treasury department but within the French Mission. We’re a team of five and I support everyone, but I report directly to my supervisor, the chief of Economic Services and the primary counselor for financial issues at the U.N. Our team deals primarily with the United Nations budget, special political missions, U.N. peacekeeping missions and procurement.

Who were your mentors and how did they help you get to where you are today?

I would be nowhere without my professors for sure. The French department allowed me to spend a semester in Bordeaux, France and Professor Pieretti helped me get into the TAPIF program. It is a teaching assistant program in France which I did right out of college and allowed me to be a teaching assistant in Bordeaux for nine months. I would definitely not have been able to get the job that I have now without Professor Pieretti’s help. The same goes for my political science degree. If I had not done the U.N. semester, I would not have the prior knowledge of the U.N. and its functions. My adviser, Jason Jordan, was a huge help throughout college.

How did the U.N. semester help you?

It put me in a spot where I was in the center of the diplomatic world. My senior year, I was able to go into the city twice a week, take courses at the U.N., walk around U.N. Plaza, it was incredible to be exposed like that at such an early age. I grew and matured a lot at Drew and came out a better person on the other side.

How were you exposed to the French language?

I was fluent in French since I was seven. My parents met abroad in Paris, so my mother came back to the U.S. and my father became a French professor. He directed the Vassar and Wesleyan dual program in Paris for two years—once when I was seven and once when I was thirteen. So I got to live in Paris for two separate years. I wouldn’t be anywhere without my parents as well. They gave me so many tools that I have been able to use in my life. I am pretty blessed.

What’s your advice to students?

French is extremely useful. Having that on your resume already shows people that you already think out of the box. In terms of getting a French degree, pursue the language if you aim to use it in your career. Use your professor to help find you an internship — it’s all about using the language and practicing it.