By HANNAH BRATTON
Students received an opportunity to learn about careers in the foreign service on Thursday, Nov. 6 when U.S. Department of State Diplomat-in-Residence Terry Davidson spoke at an information session for interested students.
The session also featured UMW alumna Catherine Romeo, a graduate of the class of 2013, who is now working for the Foreign Service. During the presentation, Romeo expounded upon her experiences in the field.
Davidson has served as a public diplomacy officer in the Foreign Service for nearly 27 years.
Davidson explained how he and his wife traveled as a tandem colleague couple, their experiences working in various countries and their upcoming assignment to Kabul, Afghanistan. Davidson explained that various skills, including language and strong interpersonal communication, that can make one a better candidate for the Foreign Service.
Davidson and Romeo both also distinguished between the five routes one can take in the Foreign Service, including consular, political, economic, management and public diplomacy. Davidson and Romeo showed various statistics of working within the Foreign Service, including the fact that although 75,000 people work in the U.S. Foreign Service, 45,000 of them are not U.S. citizens. They also told students about various pathways to working in the Foreign Service, including temporary and non-temporary internships.
“The Peace Corps can be a good pathway to a career in the Foreign Service as well because the experience makes you harder and more disciplined,” Davidson said.
Many students enjoyed this opportunity to hear a professional’s first hand experience.
“I came to see the diplomat speak to expand my knowledge of the topic, and I am planning to pursue a career in the U.S. Department of State once I graduate, so this was encouraging to me,” said Samuel Strader, a freshman political science major.
Kenny Oliveira, a freshman international affairs and economics double major, said he found Davidson and Romero’s information to be helpful.
“I came to find out more about the US Foreign Service and internships, and I think this gives me a better insight on my career plan of becoming a political/ economic analyst for a government agency,” Oliveira said.
In addition, the presentation showed students the variety of jobs the Foreign Service can offer.
“I want to work for the State Department in some capacity as a translator, and I came to learn more about the Foreign Service,” said J.C. Sevart, a sophomore linguistics major.
The event was one of the many specialized presentations put on by the Office of Academic and Career Services each year.