Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ambassador Profile: Brendan Mulcahy

While searching for an internship with the Department of Defense I came across an opportunity within the Department of State that was a dream position for me. I applied to, and was accepted as, an intern with the U.S. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Political Economic Section at U.S. Embassy Dublin in Dublin, Ireland. Day to day tasks included attending country team meetings with Ambassador Dan Rooney and section chiefs within the embassy as well as meeting with various business and government officials in Ireland. My main focus within the Political Economic Section was to monitor the environment surrounding the December 2009 Irish budget cuts and how they would impact Ireland’s overwhelming union membership affiliations throughout the country. The atmosphere was very tense as many were already suffering from pay cuts and job loss that had been announced only a few months prior. Under direction of my section chief, I performed entry level work such as making phone calls to various departments within the Irish Government, to reporting on protests in Dublin to Washington to determine safety for U.S. travelers, to supporting tasks such as meeting former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland such as Garret FitzGerald and the Ireland DoS desk officer. I also had the opportunity to review and edit firearms policy within the embassy under direction of the Deputy Chief of Mission. The average workweek was unlike anything I have ever experienced at any other job I’ve had in the past, corporate office environment or otherwise.

A student at the University of Washington Bothell campus, I am finishing up my coursework towards a B.A. in the IAS: Global studies program with a minor in Policy Studies. I have focused my research towards international relations and terrorism, and the implications on foreign policy and combat operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. A career in the Department of Defense or Department of State is to me a dream job. From working to better the lives of your family, friends, community, and country; to representing your country abroad there is no other environment like it. What led me to the federal service was family and friends. Family because of those in my family working within the federal government, and friends due to those friends of mine currently serving in the U.S. Army. I admire them all greatly, and will one day serve either at their side or in supporting them in operations and protecting our country.

Traveling to a foreign country, and walking from one tourist destination to another can often be an amazing experience. Interning with the Department of State, however, provided an experience far beyond any other form of travel I have ever had. Representing the United States in a foreign country, even if just as an intern, is something that I am incredibly proud to say that I have done. How else would I have had the opportunity to talk football with the Pittsburgh Steelers owner and U.S Ambassador Dan Rooney, and of course mention the Seattle Seahawks at every opportunity? Where else would I have been able to talk casually with a Japanese Ambassador, or eat Thanksgiving dinner with Israeli and Pakistani embassy officials? The experience was completely life changing to say the least. Many sacrifices had to be made to follow through with the internship, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Having had a glimpse into what life could very well be like within the federal service, be it foreign service or not, has completely convinced me. I look forward to what lies ahead after UW, I am confident that the experience will only get better.

Promoting careers in the federal service in my eyes just makes sense. The nations largest employer, with duty locations in every major city in the U.S. and abroad, with arguably the best benefits of any employer, to me seems like an option that has no competition. Upon graduation UW students of all majors will be looking for work, and every major has a place in the federal service. Diversity of individuals and backgrounds is heavily sought after by the U.S. Government and with what will be a mass exodus of employees retiring soon, our country will need fresh and eager minds from great Universities such as UW to fill those positions. I am eager to help fellow UW students interested in a career in the federal service because if I had a fellow student to help me through my application process I would have had far fewer sleepless nights. Paying it forward to me is incredibly rewarding and I look forward to helping as much as I possibly can [ Mulcahyb at ]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ambassador Profile: Sage Emry-Smith

I am currently a Disaster Assistance Employee, Congressional Specialist, for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Region 10. I was contacted by FEMA after attending a federal government job fair in the fall of 2008. I am a reservist and can be deployed to any disaster nationwide (including a possible deployment to Haiti), however, I am typically deployed to the Regional office in Bothell, WA for special projects while I finish my graduate studies. As a congressional specialist I am responsible for creating and maintaining relationships with congressional delegations in Region 10’s four states and I serve as the contact point for constituent inquiries. I have led briefings on FEMA programs and policies for the congressional staff of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska delegations and would be responsible for helping to brief congressional offices during a disaster if our region received a presidential declaration for a disaster event. On a daily basis I respond to congressional inquiries from regional constituents and perform research in order to compile comprehensive and timely responses.

Until December of 2009, I had been working full-time in the Office of the Ambassador as an intern for the United States Department of State at the U.S. Mission to France and Monaco in Paris, France. I performed entry-level Foreign Service work as assigned by the Ambassador and the Deputy Chief of Mission and completed special projects as assigned by the Ambassador’s Staff Assistant. I was responsible for managing the visit of Secretary Clinton's Senior Advisor for Innovation, Alec Ross, who helped the Embassy develop a youth outreach strategy to address the next generation of French leaders through new media. To support this visit, I coordinated his schedule, organized successful town hall meetings with Embassy staff, prepared briefing materials for the Ambassador, and participated in all of the strategy sessions. Throughout my internship, I assisted with several receptions at the Ambassador’s residence, communicating in both French and English with broad spectrum of government officials.

When I started in the Master of Public Administration program at UW's Evans School of Public Affairs, I was uninterested in government employment and sure that the non-profit sector was where I was meant to be. It wasn’t until I started working for FEMA that I even considered a federal career. My time with FEMA and my experience with the State Department proved to me that there are great opportunities for creative, innovative, intelligent, and ambitious individuals in government and I have the chance to contribute my skills and abilities to help shape our nation.

Both of these experiences have been truly rewarding and have helped shape my career goals as I move closer toward graduation this June. These opportunities have solidified my desire to pursue a career in public service and have exposed me to a broad range of federal career paths. I have met and worked with individuals who are dedicated to their jobs and who have inspired me to serve my country.

UW students are welcome to contact me at sagee at

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ambassador Profile: Elizabeth Comley

As a marketing and international business major, I didn’t think that the federal government held a lot of possibilities for my interests—I was wrong. Thanks to a visit from an international trade specialist, I discovered the U.S. Commercial Service, a sector of the Department of Commerce that works to help small businesses export their products and alongside the Foreign Commercial Service to promote U.S. products internationally. Over the summer I worked under a trade specialist to develop easy-to-use references on exporting logistics, documentation, and licensing. I also created market research reports which analyze the attractiveness of countries as exporting opportunities in terms of historical trade data, currency fluctuations, social trends, and government initiatives. Other interns in the office worked on revamping the agency website, collaborating with local companies on trade events, and initiating a medical tourism cooperative for major Seattle hospitals.

My experience with the U.S. Commercial Service was invaluable. It opened up my eyes to the possibilities for business majors in the federal government and led me to my future career goal of working with the USAID. The government can provide language and cultural training as well as relocation assistance that industry would be hard-pressed to match which is why it is an extremely desirable option for students wanting to work abroad. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ecomley1 at

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ambassador Profile: Michael Benezra

Working for the Federal Government has opened my eyes to a new and exciting world of opportunities. Last year I was selected to fill the Internship position with the Office of Senator Maria Cantwell in Seattle. While at the Senator’s office, I was given the opportunity to assist her state and regional outreach director’s in the difficult task of planning the Senator’s schedule and preparing documents for briefings with top public officials. This experience inspired me to continue working for the Federal Government and this past summer I traveled out to Washington DC to work in the U.S. House of Representatives. I was hired on by the office of Congressman Norm Dicks (WA-D). Coincidentally, Rep. Dicks is known to be one of the most powerful and influential members in Congress. Rep. Dicks is Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Committee, which gives him the authority to appropriate money and efforts towards specific Interior (Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife Habitats) projects. I had the opportunity to help conduct research on specific issues and related events that shape policy for the entire country. Simply having the pleasure of entering the U.S. Capitol every morning, made the experience worthy in itself. My experience in working for the Federal Government has given me the knowledge and tools necessary to pursue a career in any field imaginable.