News

Students Visit Washington, D.C. for Career Day

Hannah Watson, MPA '19
November 8, 2017

Above: Fels students (left to right) Kellen Wartnow, Alex Bird, Nikole Thomas, Peiling Gan, and Peter Kramer were among the participants in Fels' Washington, D.C. Career Day.

On November 3rd, twenty-five Fels students traveled to Washington, D.C., so that they could learn more about potential career and internship opportunities. The students heard from speakers from a variety of organizations, including non-profits, government departments and think tanks. Thanks to the small group sizes, the students were able to interact with the employees of these organizations on a more personal level and consider how their Fels degree might aid their development into successful public-sector employees.

One of the most well-received sessions was given by Ellen Herbst, the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration and the Department of Commerce. Her insightful talk covered her career progression following her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, and the activities she participates in as part of her current role. The students who attended the session also learned more about the Department of Commerce as a government organization and how they might pursue a career in federal government.

Several students also visited the headquarters of the World Bank, where they met with Elisabeth Sedmik, an Education Policy Analyst, who talked in detail about the World Bank’s recruitment process, the different paths that those at the beginning of their career may take if they would like to pursue a career with the organization, and some of the challenges they might face. The talk was extremely useful in showing the challenging nature of obtaining secure employment in such a competitive industry, but Elisabeth clearly laid out the skills that recruiters were looking for and the types of activities that candidates could do if they wished to pursue a job at the World Bank.

At lunchtime, the students visited City Club where they were able to meet Fels alumni and learn a little more about how former Fels students had been able to use their degree to shape successful careers. The alumni offered some interesting perspectives on the differences they had experienced between working in the public and private sector in terms of organizational culture and career progression.

Many of the students commented on how the day had helped them to better understand not only the public-sector career opportunities in Washington, D.C., but also the nature of public-sector and mission-driven work more generally. They really appreciated the willingness of the speakers to take time out of their schedules to meet and share their valuable experiences and look forward to the upcoming New York careers day in the Spring semester.

Below is a list of all locations visited during the day:

  1. American Enterprise Institute
  2. The Education Trust
  3. The White House Internship Program
  4. The Sentencing Project
  5. The Department of Commerce
  6. The Office of National Drug Policy
  7. The Civil Liberties Center
  8. The National Low Income Housing Coalition
  9. PLEN: Preparing Women to Lead
  10. The Stimson Center
  11. Cato Institute
  12. The Department of Education
  13. Victory Housing
  14. DC Department of Housing and Community Development
  15. The World Bank

Many thanks to all those who took the time to speak with our students!

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu