Marine seeks Master’s in Security Studies to make the world a better, safer place

Kristin Petersen JJ[M]arine Corps. Mercy Corps. Peace Corps. Georgetown!

This is not only a list of challenges I have confronted and overcome (or soon will), but also a list of the reasons why I have decided to dedicate my life to international politics and more specifically, security studies.  I’ve actually known my career track since secondary school, when my social studies teacher got our class involved in a letter writing campaign to help a Buddhist monk who was being unjustly imprisoned.  This drastically changed my inward-focused, normal, teenage girl perspective and I began to understand the plight of different peoples from all over the world, on a whole new level.

After graduating I committed myself to serving my country and the freedoms we are so fortunate to have, for 6 years, in the Marine Corps Reserves.  Boot camp was one of the most challenging but worth-while experiences of my life.  It made me a stronger person both personally and professionally.  I learned more about how our country interacts with others, specifically during times of war and crisis.  I developed an interest in international conflict and a desire to innovate our policy and actions to benefit overall security and development in our own country as well as globally.  This goal was further solidified when a very close, personal friend lost his life in the war in Afghanistan. I knew that there must be a better way for modern-day political and developmental problems to be solved.

My undergraduate studies and study abroad experiences showed me yet more perspectives.  I studied many groups of thought in my academic field and continually put myself in situations where I was forced to confront my own positions.  From this I developed great insight into how and why others think the way they do, and how to solidify my own opinions, or sometimes even change them.
After graduating I sought out further opportunities to broaden my horizons and continue down my selected career track.  I subsequently worked for a large, international nonprofit, Mercy Corps, for over two years, and then joined the Peace Corps, serving in Africa for an additional two years. The realities of on-the-ground development work are drastically different than what you read in a textbook. I came to appreciate these additional challenges, but also the advantages provided by other cultures, that can positively influence complicated situations and even produce new solutions to problems not previously discovered.

I have now been accepted to and confirmed my attendance at Georgetown’s Masters in Foreign Service, Security Studies Program this fall.  I look forward to the additional challenges I will face, the insights I will gain, and the future this will provide.  I am committed to doing my part in making our country and our world a better and safer place.

As you can see, the word ‘corps’ is just a coincidence, but my path is quite intentional.

We are proud to announce Kristin Pettersen is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.



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  • I have known Kristin for a few years, and she is one of the most committed, active and inspiring people I know. I wish her all the best for her future academic and professional career and can only emphasize that any scholarship she is rewarded is a smart investment!

  • Kristin, you are truly an inspiration. I am so fortunate to have met you, albeit for a short time, and to have shadowed at your site before beginning my own PC service. You are the perfect fit for this and any other academic/professional endeavor you undertake. Best of luck!

  • Great essay, Kristin! I believe you have worked very hard to get where you are today and that you are an asset to any project, organization, etc. you are involved with!

  • What a beautiful essay! Such an inspiration that you knew what you wanted to do from a young age – and then carried it out. So impressive how devoted you are.

  • Kristin is an amazing person! The sky is the limit for her; very inspiring and motivating woman! I am so glad to have her as friend and colleague.

  • I really enjoyed the essay! I know you as a teacher and a fellow volunteer, your passion and understanding are the first things I noticed about you. Through your advice I was able to gain more focus and determination about the two year service that I was just beginning. Your insight into life abroad gave hope that like you, I have the ability to touch so many lives. There is no doubt that you will succeed and flourish in any situation or challenge you are faced with.

  • Kristin is forever inspiring. I saw first hand Kristin’s work as a volunteer in Africa. Her strength, passion, patience and persistence in her role were always apparent. Her accomplishments and her drive through each of them never ceases to amaze me. Above all Kristin is a valued friend. She has helped me overcome many of my own challenges serving as a volunteer. A true leader, Loyal, beautiful, brilliant! I feel so lucky our paths crossed! This world is a better place with her. Her next journey is about to make it even better!

    Kristin you are awesome!

  • Kristin! What a great essay. I am fortunate to have met you during the peace corps part of your journey. All the best with georgetown!

  • The most brilliant woman I have ever known. This astounding individual deserves any and all support from people all over this globe, not just those involved in the scholarship selection process. I have known this brave, awe-inspiring woman for over 20 years, and she has never faltered in her commitment to the people and causes she is passionate about. There is no doubt in my mind that Kristen Pettersen will change the world someday, and I truly hope those involved in the selection process can see that, too.

  • Kristin is an extremely passionate and dedicated individual. She cares deeply about serving others and working for positive change.

  • Kristin’s ability to accomplish whatever she sets her mind to is a testament to her work ethic. She’s always been very goal-orientated and dedicated to her job and volunteer work. She goes above and beyond what is expected. She touched so many lives as a Peace Corps Volunteer and I know, given this opportunity, she could touch even more. She deserves this more than anyone I know! This will be money well spent. Best of luck at Georgetown!

  • Kristin has been a gem since I have know her in Middle School. She is a truely passionate person that will be a big inprint on this world.

  • Kristin, your dedication and hard work made you one of the most successful volunteers that I served with during my time in the Peace Corps. You have been an inspiration to many of us, and I know your knowledge and work ethic will take you far in life. Good luck with this scholarship. You deserve it!

  • I hope you get this! One of the best team leaders I had the pleasure of serving under during my time in the Corps, and I’m sure you’ll be successful in all your future endeavors. Good luck!

  • Phenomenal outlook and motivation throughout all of your experiences. I’m proud to have you dedicated to such an inspiring cause to make our world a safer place. You deserve all the best as you continue your incredible journey. Good luck!

  • Kristin, you’re a very determined, motivated, and energetic person. You were always a pleasure to hang out with. Wishing you good luck for your grad school studies. Keep smiling!

  • Kristin, you are a very driven and inspiring person. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

  • Go Kristin! You’ve already done a lot to serve others, and this program will give you the opportunity to do so much more!

  • Kristin, you’re a motivated en positive person! i have met you a couple of times en you have always achived the goals that you had! You have your heart on the right place and willing to help out people that are in less developed places! I admire your drive and I know for sure that you will make the people around you feel like that they are in a better place. good luck

  • This lady is hands down one of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing! We didn’t always see eye to eye but through respect, patience & tenacity we perserveered.
    I look up to her & know she will continue make this world a better place.
    Best of luck at Georgetown my friend!

  • Awesome essay Kristin! Your drive and commitment to serve others and make the world a better place are impressive. Good luck!

  • KJ – Congratulations on being a scholarship finalist! You are an amazing candidate and they would be so lucky to have you! Best of luck! 🙂

  • Congratulations Kristin on your acceptance to Georgetown’s Masters in Foreign Service, Security Studies Program. Your vast experience, ambitious attitude, winning spirit, and team-player style are going to contribute greatly to the program. Georgetown is lucky to have your presence. I sincerely wish you best of luck in your pursuit of the JustJobs scholarship and can with confidence say that you have definitely earned it.

  • Kristin is a hardworking, strongly motivated person. She would be an asset to any organization or team that she could join, solely based on her work ethic and motivation. Her experience puts her over the top and makes her extremely qualified to pursue a career in the study of security. Good luck Kristin!!!

  • kristin,
    What a beautiful story. You have so many possibilities ahead of you! You should be proud of all your experiences and you commitment to the world. Can’t wait to keep reading/ watching how your story grows!! What an inspiration. Thank you!

  • Working with Kristin as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia has been inspirational in many ways. She was an enthusiastic teacher and has exceptional organizational skills. She helped organize “Run to Read” in Karibib, Namibia, which raised money for her school’s library. Such a feat is not possible without a willingness to help
    others or a strong ability to recruit those willing to do the same. These skills will be an asset to Georgetown’s Security Studies program. I have no doubt that Kristin will shine brightly.

  • Not many people can say that they have given a young boy in Africa the ability to walk. A terrible accident left Mcdonald, a bright and able young man, as a double-amputee. While teaching in Namibia with the Peace Corps, Kristin didn’t hesitate before deciding to do everything in her ability to help Mcdonald walk again. She worked to get his story into the eyes of those who could help him. Her communication skills, her ability to work well with others, and her sheer commitment to helping Mcdonald led him to receive prosthetics. Kristin is an incredible young woman whose determination to make this world a better place is whole-hearted and palpable. Kristin will, without doubt, do incredible things in the future!

  • Kristin is perhaps the most benevolent and dedicated person I know. If anyone should be awarded this scholarship, it’s her!

  • Congratulations on getting into Georgetown. Wishing you best of luck as your journey continues and your passion guides you.

  • Kirsten, you are SUCH an inspiration! There is no doubt in my mind that you’ve already made our world a better place – what you achieved here in Namibia is testimony to that. Wishing you only the best for this exciting journey ahead. May our paths cross again somewhere in a better, safer future!

  • Congratulations, and continued success in your career ! Your essay was very inspiring. Your dedication to understanding global security is to be applauded. You can provide an alternative to the military “knee-jerk” reaction too often used.

  • KJ, there’s no one more deserving of this scholarship than you. It was a privilege and a pleasure to work along side you in Namibia. The passion and dedication you put towards achieving your goals is immeasurable. And more than that you have an incredible personality that’s just fun to be around. Congratulations on your acceptance to Georgetown and I can’t wait to hear about all the amazing accomplishments your future holds.

  • Kristin, your hard work and dedication to making this world a better place is truly an inspiration. Whether during your service in the Marine Corps, in Peace Corps Namibia where I was fortunate enough to meet you, or and of your future endeavors, I can say with confidence, that this world will be a better place because of your hard work and dedication. Good luck with this scholarship!

  • I can’t think of a better candidate for this scholarship! The variety of your experiences yet dedication in purpose is a huge strength.

  • Congratulations Kristin on being a finalist! I hope you get it, and continue your work! Excited to see where life takes you!

  • Kristin! I’m so excited to see where your leadership and compassion take you. You’re bound for great things.

  • Good luck! And congratulations on your acceptance to Georgetown. And if you’re ever in LA, I would very much like to meet you and invite you to speak to my classes at Claremont McKenna College. Jenny Taw

  • Very thoughtful essay from someone I know to be a tremendously thoughtful and dedicated professional! Good luck!

  • Good job Kristin, and I hope you get the scholarship to pursue you dream and a career to help make the world a better place, we need more people like you, and I think you deserve it more than anybody! I knew you were a GEM on our first day of staging in Philadelphia. Wishing you the best of luck and will be sure to check you out when I visit the Washington DC area in a few weeks.

  • I’m so impressed with everything you’ve accomplished, and I know that I will continue to be amazed with everything you’re able to do in your life. Keep rocking! 🙂

  • I am a former classmate of Kristin’s. Her passion and enthusiasm is apparent in all that she does and it easily becomes contagious. She is a hard-working and humble person that would be well-suited in this program. I know that she will continue to use those traits to benefit others through her studies and beyond!

  • There are ao few Marines that have also served in the Peace Corps. And, even fewer Women Marines that do both. Trust me. I’m not one 🙂 Corps to Corps…very special.

  • Kristen Pettersen’s work in the Peace Corps was truly inspiring and it seems from the comments below – others agree that this is exactly the right word to use when describing her. She has made a lot of people’s lives better, bringing hope and inspiration into their life. She deeply cares about social injustice and disparities and I have no doubt that her career path will make an important contribution to the world community.

    Kristen is a very special person. She exemplifies drive, commitment, and compassion. As a physician, researcher, and public health specialist I strongly and wholeheartedly urge you to select her for this scholarship!

  • Congratulations on your acceptance to Georgetown! You have done amazing things in the world and I am positive you are only getting started. Good luck!

  • Inspiring and dedicated.

    I recently told Kristin that I live vicariously through her, reading about her adventures and flipping through her pictures whenever possible. It’s not just anyone who can do what she does. I, for one, could never muster up the nerve to work so tirelessly abroad without my anxieties getting the best of me. And while I am a teacher proudly serving the children of our country daily, it takes a special person to serve and teach abroad with all of the other intricate challenges you are faced.

    Kristin rises to the top. She is that special type of person. She is worthy of this scholarship and many more. … She will be paying it back tenfold someday with the role she will undoubtedly play in this country.

  • Kristin is the kind of person that these scholarships are all about! Please consider her as an ideal candidate for this kind of support – she is the living example of serving her country and her fellow man, and deserves this honor. Thank you.

  • I have known Kristin since she was about 8 years old. Hers has been an extraordinary life built from the same tools we all have but aren’t quite sure how to use! She is, to say the least, an amazing individual with a strong desire and ability to make and achieve goals that positively affect the lives of everyone she comes in contact with. I believe in her ability to make a difference in this world and I know Kristin has always made a difference in the lives of others and will continue to do so through her brilliance, tenacity and integrity. She is truly a forward thinker and a leader.

  • Kristin is a real “go-getter” who seeks out challenges and conquers them. She is also great person: friendly, kind, worldly and genuinely interested in other people and cultures.

  • He Kristin, it was wonderfull to travel with you and Rudi through Namibia. It is allways a challenge to travel through a third world country and specially on the left site of the road. Animals do not bother traffic rules, potholes everywhere and our car that in the middle of nowhere broke down. You made me feel save, no panic, put things into perspective and humorous. Thank you. I am sure you can make this world safer.

  • Kristin is an unique person who is very motivated and caring. She is kind and generous.
    Through her experiences she has touched many lives and made a change for the better.
    I am very fortunate to have her as my friend.

  • What woman do you know that has served in the Marines,

    served in to Namibia to teach in the Peace Corp.

    created a Library for a local school

    helped in restoring a boys feet so he can walk again,

    helped create and participated in a Charity Marathon Run for Women in Namibia

    has an impeccable educational backround.

    will sincerely make a difference in the world

    has the determination to take on life changing experiences

    has traveled the world

    has my respect completely and will be a very bright spot in this
    world of ours

    She is truly a one of a kind individual.

    She is Kristen Pettersen and I am proud to know her

    Michelle Barker

  • Kristin is thoughtful, compassionate, and relentless in service to others. I can think of no more deserving candidate for this award. Best of luck.

  • This is an exceptional field for an extraordinary being of you stature
    to pursue! The world defiantly needs you Kristin. I know your intellect
    and dedication will change the world for the better. I can’t wait to see
    your effects in the near future.

  • Kristin displays a balanced approach to study, reflection, and practice in dedication to human security. She has (and continues) to undertake academic study to better understand underlying causes of conflict and insecurity; she is reflective on how to best take action to mitigate those causes; and then she takes action. I was her supervisor in an internship just as she completed her undergraduate degree, and it has been amazing to see her grow and develop over the years.

  • Congratulations Kristin! I had the pleasure of meeting Kristin for a couple of days, and I know you would be a great candidate!

  • Each of these formative experiences has unique mental and emotional challenges, so for such a person to be able to survive and thrive in these diverse circumstances is a sure sign that she’s more than up for whatever comes her way. Rarely do you see someone with such grit AND compassion, intelligence AND fortitude. I can’t imagine anyone else more deserving of the scholarship.

  • Kristin, you are such an inspiration to me and many others. Your experience in the Marine Corps and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer demonstrates to me how passionate you are about everything you do. To make the sacrifices you have made and the challenges you have faced in these past years don’t compare to what most people have done in their lifetime. The field of foreign service needs more people like you to work at creating a peaceful future.

  • Kristin is an extremely dedicated ,hard working, intelligent, driven, young woman. I have had the pleasure of knowing Kristin for 10+ years. Even as a teenager Kristin took every opportunity to better herself and her community.

  • Kristin is an amazing, compassionate, and extremely dedicated person. Her service to others is incredible and she will go far in everything she puts her mind to! She truly deserves this scholarship and I wish her the best in her studies!

  • Your work establishing a REAL library for your students in Karibib and getting McDonald on his feet again were such labors of love. You continue to amaze me with your kindness, generosity and ability to lead a well-balanced life. No matter the obstacle, your sense of humor always rises to the top. Congratulations on being a finalist for this scholarship. You are truly deserving.

  • Kristin, I loved reading your story and I’m even happier to know that a high school social studies teacher helped set you on your path. You are a true inspiration!

  • Kristin’s ability to inspire those around her to meet and exceed their capacity is unmatched. Her personal drive and determination is second to none, and the selflessness in her career path and activities is second to none. There are very few people who have the capacity to inspire and even fewer who strive so diligently while maintaining an ebullience and smile that brightens even the cloudiest of Pacific Northwest days. I wish you all the best and Georgetown, and I look forward to seeing the revolutionary change in security policy you will assuredly achieve.

  • There is no better choice! I got to work with Kristin in Africa. She is a problem solver and an authentic, caring individual.

  • Way to go Kristin! Becoming a scholarship finalist is amazing. Can’t think of anyone who deserves it more!

  • Kristin will be a valuable contribution to the Georgetown community and DC as a whole. I’m honored to have served with her in the Peace Corps and worked with her on a handful of committees and trainings. Her dedication and hard work never ceased to impress me.

  • Very excited to meet you at SSP this Fall! You’ll be a great addition to our student body. Best of luck and *meet* you soon!

  • Sun Tzu wrote the Book of War thousands of years ago. The concept of pursuing international development to secure peace and stability is only a few decades old. We need more people like Kristin who can see global issues from local perspectives.

  • Kristin is such a dedicated person and deserves this scholarship to continue her studies. Please help her with this journey. She is truly an inspiration.

  • Kristin, your story is beautiful and your work is admirable. Best of luck with your studies and the work you will do after you graduate. I will be starting my Grad school at Georgetown as well in similar field of study. Hope to see you there in fall!

  • Kristin you have a beautiful story and your work is admirable. Best of luck with your studies and your work after graduation. I will be starting my Grad school at Georgetown in similar field of study. Hope to see you there!

  • Such an amazing woman and an excellent role model for me to grow up with over the years. Keep on rocking it KJ 🙂

  • Such a great essay. You can really feel Kristin’s passion and commitment. It’s not just talk – it’s action all the way! Best of luck to you 🙂

  • KJ’s level of dedication to those in need is without equal. If anyone deserves a scholarship for serving their country and improving the lives of those who are less fortunate it is definitely her.

  • LIKE, LIKE, LIKE this. An inspiring background and so many achievements in you life time so far & many more I’m sure in the future.. Best of luck. Georgetown will be lucky to have you. Good luck with the scholarship.