A Peace Offering

Austen Dowell '17

Austen Dowell ’17  

Austen Dowell ’17 has a passion for foreign diplomacy and a fascination with the post-Soviet bloc. He recently secured an internship with a Russian educational organization focused on international security and arms control, and he will spend three semesters abroad as an intern and study-abroad student in Moscow. Below Dowell discusses finding his way on campus, his love of teaching and the importance of courage and authenticity.


Russian and international studies.

Clubs and organizations:

Club soccer, Russian Club, L.E.A.D (mentor).


Alpha Lambda Delta, John Dickinson Scholarship, National Russian Essay Contest (American Council of Teachers of Russian, honorable mention).

Favorite book:

The Once and Future King by T.H. White.

Favorite movie:

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (naturally).

On choosing a major:

Russian and international studies are both super-interesting subjects that, for better or worse, never stop surprising me.

On choosing Dickinson:

I was lucky enough to know even before applying to college that I wanted strong language and international programs, so when it came time to apply, I really zeroed in on schools that could give me what I was looking for. It didn’t hurt that I had an awesome, sunny tour of campus!

Favorite place on campus:

Second floor of the library.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Sweet and sour chicken.

Favorite class (so far):

[Former Assistant] Professor [of English Poulomi] Saha’s class about travel writing and colonialism really helped me challenge what I thought I knew about the world.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… Pumbaa from The Lion King.

Most important thing I’ve learned (so far):

I’m a pretty shy kid, so this one took some time to learn, but I guess the most important thing is to just be you. You have to define your own college experience and really go after what you want in life. Never let fear of disappointment stop you, ever.

Favorite professor:

They’ve all been my favorites, I love how much personalized help and committed interest we are exposed to on campus!


I am an astute Dungeons and Dragons player, as well as an Aikido red belt.

About my internship:

I recently secured an internship with the PIR Center in Moscow, Russia. The center is dedicated to researching and spreading information regarding international security, with a special focus on arms control. I was really looking to merge my language aspirations with my interest in international affairs.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Marshawn Lynch.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I absolutely love showing people new things, so I want to work somewhere where I can bring people together from different cultures in order to foster cooperation and growth. I’m most interested in working in the State Department, but I also would love the opportunity to find an NGO in which I can use my abilities and education to help others.

In a perfect world …

… people would take the time necessary to try and understand one another. Differences don’t divide us, but fear and lack of trust do.

Biggest influence:

My family really made me who I am today. They’ve always supported me in whatever I do, and I really thank them for that! 

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Published November 3, 2015