September 17, 2013

SIU alumna to discuss foreign service careers

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumna who has spent more than three decades with the U.S. Foreign Service will share her experiences next week.

Janice L. Jacobs, the Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, will discuss foreign service careers during a breakfast discussion at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.  The discussion begins at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at the Institute.

Advance registration by Thursday, Sept. 19, is encouraged for light refreshment considerations and seating.  To register, contact Vanessa Sneed with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4004 or by email at

The session is primarily for students and the public interested in pursuing foreign service careers, said David Yepsen, Institute director.  Diplomatic personnel come from a variety of backgrounds, he said.

“This is a good opportunity for students to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about these positions and career paths and it will give them an idea of what they should be doing with their time at SIU, including pursuing internships and other experiences that will benefit them,” he said.

Jacobs graduated from SIU Carbondale in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in French and English, and is a 33-year career diplomat. Prior to her nomination and confirmation to her current post in the U.S. Department of State in 2008, Jacobs was the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. 

Her career includes a mix of assignments both overseas and in Washington, D.C., including working in the State Department's Visa Office, Operations Center and Office of Cuban Affairs. She joined the Foreign Service in 1980 after many years of overseas experience as a Foreign Service dependent.

Jacobs returned to the university in 2010 to deliver the Jeanne Hurley Simon Lecture and also in 2005 for a lecture while serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for visa services.

Jacobs’ father, Murphysboro native Robert Jacobs, was a dean of the university’s International Services, and he served many years with the State Department as an educational consultant in several countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.  Her mother lives in Murphysboro.

Jacobs earned a master's degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in 1995.

For more information on this or any other institute program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit