A Not So Hidden Gem

The Career Center at Wash U has many helpful resources for students, but its work groups are some of its best resources. While work groups now represent a variety of interests, from engineering to entertainment, the government and public policy work group was the first of its kind. Students and faculty created it to provide career advice to students looking to go into a field that wasn’t medicine or engineering. Over time, it evolved into what it is today.

The group now consist of weekly meetings where faculty members Amy-Heath Carpentier and Susan Craig bring in guest speakers and offer advice on applying for internships and job.  For example, the other week the topic was applying to jobs in national security agencies like the CIA and the FBI. This happens to be an area where Susan Craig has expertise since she worked in that sector for years, so she offered advice. However, the work group no longer solely consists of the people attending meetings. It also includes people who sign up for the mailing list, a group I used to be a part of until this semester.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I signed up to receive emails from the government and public policy work group. This provided me with invaluable information about places that were hiring interns for the summer and when those internship applications were due. It also informed me about interesting events on campus, like a talk Madeline Albright gave on Middle East policy.

While the emails by themselves were helpful, attending work group meetings has been even more beneficial. Through the meetings, I’ve learned more about the federal hiring process, what government employers are looking for in applicants, and what a career in national security might look like. While I’m fairly certain a national security job is not for me, I’m glad that I learned enough about it to make that decision. Meetings also provide an excellent opportunity for networking, both with other students attending the meetings who have managed to land coveted internships and with the alumni who Skype in to talk about their career paths.

Although even signing up to receive emails is helpful, for those with an interest in the field of government and public policy, I would highly recommend attending the work group meetings on Fridays. You’ll learn more about the potential career paths open to you and meet people with similar interests at the same time.