Sunday, December 21, 2014
Benjamin Kesling

Before coming to journalism school, I spent almost seven years in the Marine Corps as an Infantry officer. During my time in the Corps I had two combat deployments: One as a Platoon Commander in Fallujah, Iraq, the other attached to ISAF/NATO as an adviser to the Afghan Army in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

After those deployments I worked with the Department of State, inspecting the preparedness of Marines who guard U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East.

In my final posting I worked with Marine teams as they prepared to deploy to Afghanistan. The training consisted of scenarios involving hundreds of ethnic Afghan role-players and a number of mock-up Afghan villages. The intensive, immersive training helped prepare them to understand Afghan culture and succeed in a counterinsurgency.

Before the Marines, I studied religion at Wabash College and then at Harvard Divinity School. This formal education served me well during my time traveling and working outside of the United States.

At Medill I am currently a business reporter and am trying to immerse myself in multi-media reporting and learn how to best use new media to tell compelling stories.