2017 Tillman Scholar

Cristine Pedersen

Marine Corps
Georgetown University
B.A., International Affairs

“I hope to sustain peace by advising a more effective and efficient rebuilding process.”

Originally interested in the combination of service and international experience, Cristine enlisted in the Marine Corps to become a linguist before she graduated high school. After becoming proficient in Arabic, Cristine deployed to the Horn of Africa where her mission was primarily counterterrorism in Somalia. There she witnessed the tension between the dozens of counterparts on the ground and misunderstanding, not between Arabic and English speakers, but between various U.S. agencies of different specialties. Each with their own set of acronyms, overlapping goals, and oftentimes duplicity of the mission, competing agencies negatively affected the impact of U.S. assistance in the region. While forward deployed, Cristine applied to Georgetown in hopes of affecting change in this area in a different capacity than a junior enlisted Marine.

Since coming to Georgetown, Cristine has seen further misunderstanding between these two worlds, development and defense, but from the academic perspective. For this reason, Cristine became the President of the Student Veteran’s Association where she strives to bridge the civilian-military divide on campus. She hopes to continue to bridge this divide in the future through diplomatic means, either serving at the U.S. Agency for International Development or at a non-governmental organization. With her experience and exposure, she hopes to become a valuable asset on the ground in post-conflict or war-afflicted states. After graduation, Cristine hopes to continue on to a Master’s Degree in International Development to better serve her country.