One Student’s Journey from the Liberal Arts to Foreign Affairs

Renee Lataif will soon be immersing herself in foreign policy, and she thanks the Constitutional Fellows program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, for that. A Political Science major from Rome, Georgia, Renee is a Constitutional Fellow with the Center for Constitutional Liberty. A Senior, Renee says that in addition to her excellent education, she has developed an “incredible community and a great faith life.”

In her final undergraduate year, she is seeing everything come together. “The culmination of my senior year is giving me perspective on how much I’ve benefited from active involvement with the Constitutional Fellows program,” Renee said. “With the help of Dr. Vance, I’ve had the opportunity to complete several valuable internships in law and foreign policy in D.C. and Atlanta.” Through the Center for Constitutional Liberty, Renee interned with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, and the Hudson Institute, which provides sought-after guidance in foreign affairs to policy makers.

What surprised Renee most about her internship in Georgia was seeing first-hand how fearless female lawyers were about fighting for the rights to freedom from human trafficking – even under the threat of violence. “Researching gang violence and human trafficking in the state of George and drafting press releases to support policy letters for the Attorney General and Solicitor General taught me the importance of public service in government.” While interning as a Security Studies Fellow at The Hertog Foundation in Washington D.C., Renee participated in seminars that covered U.S. national security issues in Korea, China and Russia led by leading experts in foreign policy. “By working alongside accomplished national leaders in public and foreign policy, I have learned that the hustle of hard work leads to success,” she said.

Closer to home, Renee has served as a leader on campus in a number of capacities, including as Lead Student Ambassador in the Admission Office and a political science tutor. Reinforcing Benedictine’s strong community life, a feature that Lataif values, the campus leadership opportunities have synthesized her academic and internship learning. “The Centers have created an environment to meet other like-minded students who are also striving for success,” Renee said.

A favorite aspect of her fellowship has been learning from national speakers sponsored by the Centers on campus. When published author and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat spoke on campus, he challenged the Constitutional Fellows. “Your first loyalty is not to your coalition, it’s not to your allies, as necessary as coalitions and allies may be,” said Douthat. “Your first allegiance always has to be to Christ and to his Church.” Mr. Douthat’s remarks are in full here on the Benedictine College Lectures YouTube channel.

“The Center has brought notable speakers from across the country,” said Renee. “Exposure to these speakers has led to great networking opportunities and substantive internship experiences.”

“Benedictine has been a formative experience and I’m really grateful for my four years here,” said Renee. “Benedictine is like a greenhouse: every aspect of your life is nourished here — spiritual, intellectual, and social. I’m excited to begin my post-college career in foreign policy with all the formation I’ve received during college.”


Jenna Ross

Jenna Ross

Jenna Ross is a writer for the Marketing Department at Benedictine College in Kansas and is an adjunct faculty. A proud military spouse who has served and taught soldiers around the world, Ross has written for the U.S. Army Training Management Division and the New Mexico Lottery among other places. She and her husband, George, have three young adult children and live near Atchison, Kansas.