Rachel Landau, '15

Rachel Landau ‘15

Name: Rachel Landau

Year: 2015

Hometown: Westport, Connecticut

Major/Minor: International Affairs, concentration in International Politics; minoring in Chinese Language and Literature

Campus Involvement: President, Delta Phi Epsilon (Professional Foreign Service Sorority) 

How did you get involved with Delta Phi Epsilon (DPE)?

I heard about Delta Phi Epsilon right as I was switching to International Affairs, which is awesome because I didn't really know about all the different opportunities the Elliott School offered, and just being at GW, in DC, and connecting with the sisters who were sophomores, juniors, and seniors who had been through all of this stuff before; it seemed like the perfect gift at that time. I went to an information session, rushed my freshman year, and have been super into it ever since. 


What does your role as DPE president involve?

Basically, I am the face of the sorority to the university and to the professional community in DC. We host a lot of events where we bring outside speakers in for the GW community, for our sisterhood privately, or in partnership with the (DPE) fraternity as well. I engage with the GW administration, the Center for Student Engagement, the Student Association, etc. 

The other part of my role is to make sure everything is operating well within the organization. We have 14 different positions in the sorority, and it's just making sure things run smoothly and everyone is happy, excited, engaged and satisfied with their role in the sorority.


You've brought speakers to campus; is there one that sticks out as the most memorable or your favorite over the years?

I am actually biased, because I served as the Professional Chair before I was elected president, so one of my favorite events was one I actually organized. I had interned at Save the Children a couple of years ago, and I met the CEO very briefly. Her name is Carolyn Miles, and she's been an idol of mine for a really long time and a role model, I would say. I asked my mentor, who was my boss during my internship and still works at Save the Children, and we brought Carolyn Miles to GW for a private event for the sisterhood. I really love those events, because we get to talk to the professionals kind of off-the-record about their career and how they got to where they are, and share really valuable advice to an aspiring group of young female leaders who also want to get involved in careers like that. 


How did you first become interested in the idea of foreign service? 

I get the travel bug from my father. He travelled the world in his twenties, and growing up around his stories got me interested in China, at first, and then the rest of the world. So, that was how I first got interested in what was going on in the international community. Foreign service, I think, probably stemmed from my internship at Save the Children after my senior year of high school and then after my freshman year of college. And I loved the work they did: I wanted to be a part of it, to learn more about it, and to this day it is an amazing place to have worked. 


Is there a particular cause/region of the world that interests you?

Because I’m studying Chinese, I've been really interested in East Asia, of course. I studied abroad in Beijing. But I've found over the years that my passion really lies in youth empowerment, youth development, and particularly reproductive health and access to information about health and services. One of the things I would say I'm most passionate about right now is the movement for sex education. I wrote my senior thesis on sex education for high school students in Mainland China, which was an incredible experience. 


For someone who is interested in foreign service, do you have any advice from a student perspective? 

Don't be afraid to sit at the table and voice your opinion. Also, don't be afraid to listen and admit that you don't know. Seek out opportunities, and don't wait for them to come to you. Go grab them, because that's how you're going to get to wherever you want to go with your career in foreign service or international affairs.