Philip DeTurck (G’21), a graduate student in Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) Program, has traveled the world as a U.S. Navy officer. As the university’s fourth recipient of the SoldierStrong partial-tuition scholarship for U.S. veterans, he wants to expand his expertise in East Asian political and security issues.
Hometown: San Francisco
Degree Pursuing: Master of Science in Foreign Service
Undergraduate School: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland (2015)
Undergraduate Major: Bachelor of Science in International Relations
Why Georgetown?: The graduate student says his military experience shaped his interest in foreign policy as well as his belief in the value of service. He hopes to find a way to continue making a difference after his time in the military.
“My military experience has been invaluable, but still only gave me a limited view of how the world works. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree to broaden my knowledge and gain new skills and perspectives,” DeTurck says. “Georgetown, and MSFS in particular, felt like an excellent fit for me because of its rigorous, professionally-focused program and the opportunity to work with incredible students and professors.”
Military Career: DeTurck had a number of roles in the Navy that provided first-hand experience in American foreign policy and solidified his interest in the further study in international affairs and national security.
“After graduating from the Naval Academy, I was forward deployed to Japan for two years as a division officer onboard the flagship of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the U.S.S. Blue Ridge (LCC 19),” DeTurck recalls. “I had the opportunity to engage with U.S. allies and partners around the Pacific as we traveled around Asia building ties and conducting exercises with countries in the Indo-Pacific.”
His next role as a training officer for the United States’ eight forward-deployed destroyers in Japan not only gave him insight into some of the most pressing issues in foreign policy, but also gave him experience in managing a team deployed on destroyers across the Asia-Pacific.
“I also worked on important international issues such as ballistic missile defense and freedom of navigation operations contesting excessive territorial claims in the South China Sea,” says the Navy veteran. “I collaborated with our allies to plan international exercises involving the Japanese, South Korean, Filipino and Australian navies.”
DeTurck’s work with members of foreign militaries continued as he managed an international training and foreign military sales program for foreign military officers in Coronado, California. The program, while primarily focused on amphibious warfare, also incorporated the promotion of democracy, human rights and humanitarian assistance operations.
“Working with foreign military leaders to promote these issues in their countries cemented my view of the United States’ central role as a leader in the world and the importance of utilizing diplomacy to promote a freer, more stable and safer world.”
Internships and Honors: DeTurck currently works as a research intern at the Brookings Institution in the Center for East Asian Policy Studies and as an intern at the strategic consulting firm Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel where he covers the firm’s Asia portfolio.
In addition to receiving the SoldierStrong scholarship for 2020, he was named a 2020-2021 Foreign Affairs Fellow for the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR) organization for his experience in international affairs.
Being A Part of Community:
“I have been awed by the skills, knowledge, and experience of everyone in the Georgetown community,” says the master’s candidate. “Access to professors and mentors who are top practitioners from the public and private sectors and my impressive classmates allows for a vibrant and rigorous academic experience.”