Michael Trudeau con­ducted deep-​​sea dives as a sonar officer with the U.S. Navy, the longest of which kept him under­water for 57 days. Now Trudeau, 28, is majoring in polit­ical sci­ence at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity through the fed­eral government’s Yellow Ribbon Pro­gram, working to tran­si­tion from a mil­i­tary career into one in secu­rity studies and diplomacy.

And he’s well on track to do just that. Trudeau starts a co-​​op next month as a research assis­tant for Northeastern’s George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity. In May, he trav­eled to Chicago for the Young Atlanti­cist Summit, where his lead­er­ship role with Northeastern’s Model NATO del­e­ga­tion netted him an exclu­sive oppor­tu­nity to attend talks and mingle with the likes of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Sec­re­tary of State Made­line Albright.

It was an excel­lent edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­nity for me,” Trudeau said of the con­fer­ence, which gave stu­dents throughout the nation a chance to learn about the Atlantic Council, a Wash­ington, D.C.-based think tank that pro­motes U.S. engage­ment in inter­na­tional affairs. “I got an excel­lent per­spec­tive of what these top leaders were thinking.”

One key issue dis­cussed at the con­fer­ence — which was sched­uled to coin­cide with a NATO Summit in Chicago — was America’s shift in for­eign policy from Europe to Asia.

Albright addressed the topic in detail. “She said that while our focus may be shifting, our atten­tions to Europe won’t go away,” Trudeau explained. “She also stressed that America’s strategic poli­cies should look into the future about 15 or 20 years, not just aim to be quick fixes.”

Trudeau is pres­i­dent of Northeastern’s Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion, which aims to improve col­lege life for stu­dents who have served in the mil­i­tary. The orga­ni­za­tion focuses on issues such as finan­cial aid, housing and academics.

Trudeau said his expe­ri­ence with the Young Atlanti­cist Pro­gram would inform his role with Northeastern’s Model NATO pro­gram, which took top honors at a con­fer­ence held in Wash­ington ear­lier this year. Next year, the group will rep­re­sent Italy and Latvia in competitions.

We’re already so focused on the issues facing NATO, so to get an expe­ri­ence like this, it will only strengthen what we’re already doing,” he said.