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 ]