Foreign Service Officer, US Agency for International Development
“I always knew that I wanted to work abroad – so much so, that I sold Kit Kat® bars in the main hallway of my high school for a year to raise enough money for a senior year trip to Europe. Sixteen years and 47 countries later, I am living my dream: home based in Bangkok, traveling across China and Southeast Asia promoting development, while serving my country as an FSO with USAID.
The Patterson School was a key stop on the path from hawker of Nestle products to promoter of global development, enabling me to establish my professional expertise. I entered Patterson as an RPCV, immediately after completing my service on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean. Peace Corps cemented my passion for assistance and relief work, but I understood an advanced degree was required to be competitive to do the work I desired. Patterson provided that and more, teaching me the foundations of global development and the key drivers of US foreign policy priorities in an intimate, affordable program. I was able to tailor a course of study that encompassed the exact technical areas I needed. Co-curricular activities built upon classroom lessons and with my internship – training trainers on an agriculture project in the Republic of Georgia – I completed the program fully prepared and ready for an international career.
Upon graduation, I leveraged my Peace Corps experience, internship in Georgia, and Patterson School Masters degree to land a career government position. USAID required not only a relevant advanced degree, but also a year of related work experience to enter its Junior Foreign Service Officer Program.
This is an exciting time at USAID. The 3D paradigm of development-diplomacy-defense demands that the Agency play an increased foreign policy role. At the Regional Development Mission for Asia (headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand), I have been heavily involved in the design of an ASEAN regional food security program. This is related to President Obama's development initiative, Feed the Future. Professionally, I am carving out a personal niche in agriculture and food security. After decades of neglect, USAID needs more officers focused on agriculture. I also know firsthand the value and importance of combating the world food crisis.”