How did Tech and INTA help you get where you are?
By getting my Master’s degree, I became eligible for the Presidential Management Fellowship, and was able to interview for (and was later offered) a job at the Social Security Administration, conducting research on international pension reform efforts. That first policy job led to an editing job, which led to a speechwriting job, which led to my current job as executive officer (chief of staff) in the Office of the Inspector General. The INTA program also helped me develop my critical thinking and writing skills, which have been critical during my career at SSA and have helped me advance quickly.
What advice you would give current students at Tech as well as the Sam Nunn School specifically?
Keep an open mind about what types of jobs you might be interested in when you graduate! I’m not doing any international work in my current job, but my work makes a difference to SSA, Congress, and the American public, so I wouldn’t change a thing. Life seldom takes you where you expected to go.
What is something that you got from studying INTA at Tech?
The INTA program helped me gain more than just knowledge of international affairs and policy analysis—I certainly acquired that knowledge, but I also developed the attributes that make me valuable to my agency and my bosses—writing, presentation, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. Also, a brief description of what you are currently working on would be greatly appreciated. I work for the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (www.socialsecurity.gov/oig). This office has almost 600 people in every state, mostly special agents and auditors, working to improve SSA’s programs and fight Social Security fraud. My job as executive officer is to provide advice to the Deputy Inspector General and Inspector General, to coordinate assignments among the OIG’s components, and to make sure that all work products are accurate and of the highest quality before we release them. I also prepare the Inspector General for high-level meetings—for example, briefings with President Obama’s transition team. Currently we are preparing for a congressional hearing on Recovery Act activities, and producing our Semiannual Report to Congress.