Super Student Matt Mikkelsen

Matthew Mikkelsen was Georgia Perimeter College's first intern to work at the Atlanta Consulate General Office of Japan. He often greeted his coworkers with a slight bow and said, "konnichiwa," the friendly "hello" in Japanese.

A first for any two-year college in Georgia, GPC's consul general program was developed thanks to longstanding relationships and friendships among the local Consul General Office of Japan, GPC's Japan Club and Dunwoody professors Dr. Thomas Graham, history; Adam Stone, political science; and Dr. Stephen Koplan, library.

The idea grew from working on a cultural project about Japan in political science," said Stone. The professors also are looking at expanding the program to include service-learning opportunities with other consulate offices in the Atlanta area.

"We thought Matt would be an excellent test case to see if the program works," Graham said. "The political science class Matt was enrolled in covers the areas of political theory, international relations and comparative politics."

Koplan hopes the program can get students involved on a daily basis with other cultures, whatever their discipline happens to be. "In Matt's case, he was able to function in a living laboratory of his discipline," he said.

As for Mikkelsen, he said working at the consulate was an "amazing" opportunity. "It was an opportunity to see what a diplomatic mission in another country would be like," he said. "I was in the Japanese Information Center helping to arrange different initiatives promoting cooperation between Japanese citizens and Americans."

Mikkelsen graduated from GPC as the Outstanding Student in Global Studies. He continued his education at Georgia State University and plans to go into international law.