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.
Like corporate visits, trips to government headquarters and operations offer unique perspectives on the myriad tasks advanced by civil servants. Spending a day exploring how federal agencies operate the border at a major international airport, 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.
Other activities range from attending the State Department's noon press briefing and sitting with planners at the Pentagon to dropping by an Embassy to huddle with the Ambassador. There is an art to how press spokesmen parry reporters' questions and keep on message and a science to Department of Defense budget planning that really only becomes clear when witnessed firsthand. Visiting a military base to meet officers just back from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan is particularly instructive, providing a personal perspective of the human costs of advancing national interests in war.
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.