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Government Outreach

India's Minister explains to Patterson students plans for President Obama's State Visit John McLaughlin, former CIA Deputy Director

With over a third of Patterson School graduates contemplating public service careers, it is important for students to become deeply aware of how government actually functions in the international sphere. This is accomplished through regular class work and a careful mix of on-campus and off-campus outreach activities.

Government officials comprise a significant portion of speakers and visitors coming to the Patterson School each year. These officials may be foreign or domestic, civilian or military, at the peak of their profession or at the very beginning. Their presentations and interaction with students provide invaluable personal insight into the effective conduct of political and economic statecraft.

Patterson students attend Secretary Kerry's rollout of new Syria policy at USIP

Like corporate visits, trips to government headquarters and operations offer unique perspectives on the myriad tasks advanced by civil servants. Watching Secretary Kerry roll out the new Syria policy was priceless. Spending a day exploring how federal agencies operate the US-Canadian border, or observing training for American and foreign officials in how to safeguard nuclear facilities and respond to potential incidents, can be simultaneously enlightening and frightening. The same can be said of seeing CDC's Emergency Operations Center in action. Designed to respond 24/7 to pandemics (like Ebola) and other global health crises, the actions of these watch officers can impact the lives of millions.

German Consulate General in Chicago

Other activities range from attending the State Department's noon press briefing in Washington, D.C. and sitting with planners at the Pentagon to dropping by an Embassy or Consulate to huddle with the Ambassador or Consul General. There is an art to how press spokesmen parry reporters' questions and keep on message and a choreography to how Senate and House Armed Services staffers work with Department of Defense officials to finalize a budget that really only becomes clear when witnessed firsthand. Foreign diplomats assigned to missions in the US are often their country's finest and they frequently provide insights that only those who know us best can divine.

MG H.R. McMaster, Commander Maneuver Center of Excellence

Visiting military bases to hear from senior commanders (like Major General H.R. McMaster) about future strategy or to meet officers and soldiers just back from Afghanistan can be particularly instructive, providing a personal perspective on the challenge and human costs of advancing national interests in war. Recent stops have included nearby Fort Knox and more distant Fort Benning and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

All such outreach provides opportunities for government agencies to showcase the range of professional opportunities they offer. The engagement also affords the Patterson School the chance to showcase the considerable talent and expertise of our students. As with corporate visits, such interaction can result in quality internships or career employment.

Students at Energy Department's Y-12 National Security Complex – (No cameras or electronic devices permitted inside)
21st Century Fortress for HEU


At Y-12, students see the critical role this DOE facility plays in managing the US nuclear stockpile, providing the Navy with nuclear propulsion, and advancing nonproliferation goals. The new ultra-secure Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility is central to that effort. A stop at Oak Ridge National Laboratory completes the picture with the opportunity to see new systems designed to detect HEU at US borders, and even the chance to try out equipment IAEA inspectors use to track down WMD.

Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use a hypothetical Zombie apocalypse as a public relations tool, but a visit to CDC Headquarters in Atlanta makes clear that Zombies are the least of our worries. H1N1, anthrax, and a host of other pathogens, pose a far more serious danger to the planet. So too do the health consequences of tsunamis, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. CDC officials show Patterson students how they help coordinate global responses to pandemics, bioterrorism, and other emergencies. Key is proper leadership, communication and preparation. Their EOC provides the technical means, but it is CDC experts at headquarters and investigators and staff assigned to 50+ countries and international organizations that make protecting global public health possible. With 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans, this remains an enormous challenge. *

CDC Emergency Operations Center, Atlanta

*Zoonoses and vectors are far tougher to handle than Zombies. For the latter, just follow standard Zombieland Rules: Cardio, Beware of Bathrooms, Seat Belts, Check The Back Seat, Travel Light, Get A Kickass Partner, Don't Be A Hero, and, of course, Double Tap.


Patterson School | 455 POT, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0027 | 859-257-4666

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