Feb. 27, 2017

Catholic University politics students had the opportunity to hear an insider’s perspective on America’s relations with China during a presentation by Kevin Sheives, a China Desk officer for the U.S. Department of State. Sheives was invited by Andrew Yeo, an associate professor of politics, to address a class on U.S., China, and International Relations of East Asia.

During his presentation, Sheives talked about growing up in Texas and how he became fascinated with Chinese culture. After studying international relations at Baylor University, he entered the Department of State in March 2006, beginning as a regional affairs advisor. Since that time, he has also worked with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the office of U.S.  Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington.

Currently, Sheives’ work on the China desk involves staying up-to-date on the ever-changing dynamics affecting the United States’ relationship with China. This includes a lot of writing, meetings, and creative thinking.

“If you enjoy thinking and research and thinking critically about problems, and figuring out how to get from point A to point B, working at the State Department would be great for you,” he told the students.

In addition to sharing stories and insights about his experiences working with the Chinese government, Sheives shared career advice with students about the various jobs available in the field of international relations. He compared the lives of those in the foreign service with civil servants, and suggested that students begin networking and learning about their career options early.

“You all are lucky to be in D.C. to have access to these careers,” he said. “You need to start getting to know them now.”

Yeo said the talk was a good opportunity for students to hear a firsthand account of working in foreign policy.

“I really thought it was important for them to get a perspective from someone who actually works at the policy level on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “Washington, D.C., is such a diverse city culturally and politically as well and I think it’s important for students to get an idea of what that actually looks like.”