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Public policy career advice

Illustration by Jeffrey C. Chase | Zoom photo courtesy of Biden Institute

Biden Institute helps students with virtual professional development workshops

The Biden Institute at the University of Delaware is working hard to forge innovative career-building opportunities, including virtual experiences, for UD students during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On April 21, the institute, in partnership with the UD Career Center (UDCC), held its first event in a series of Virtual Career Workshops, featuring CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd in a discussion to help students embark on careers in foreign policy, international relations and national security. Vinograd is a senior adviser at the Biden Institue. The career workshop was followed by several one-on-one sessions, during which students were able to speak with Vinograd personally about their resumes, tips on networking, and more. 

UD Career Center Counselor Adam Helgeson discusses jobs in national security with CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd.
UD Career Center Counselor Adam Helgeson discusses jobs in national security with CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd.

UD international relations senior Danielle Iacovelli took away real value from her one-on-one session.

“Samantha gave me a long list of nonprofits and government agencies to think about applying to and was especially helpful in differentiating between jobs that would require a masters versus those that I could apply for right out of college, Iacovelli said. “She also gave me valuable advice regarding how to list my security clearance and languages on my resume.”

During the event, Vinograd offered advice to students looking to pursue a career in related areas, urging them to plant their flag in the profession — “start somewhere and do not plan too much ahead,” she said —because one opportunity in this field often leads to others.

Like many students, Vinograd entered college unsure of what she wanted to study. But when her college career was interrupted by the events and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it spurred a lasting interest in studying and pursuing high-level work in U.S.-Middle East relations.Vinograd took every related internship and job opportunity that she could in order to broaden her base of knowledge, which eventually led to her getting recruited to join the U.S. Treasury as an attaché to Iraq during the Bush Administration. Her winding journey through the national security arena is one that proves that having a passion and taking initiative can lead to great opportunities.

“Do whatever you’re doing and do it really well,” she told students. “I wouldn’t overthink whatever your first move is as you enter the national security space.”

Vinograd was joined by Adam Helgeson from UD’s Career Center. Helgeson, a social impact and public service counselor, shared information on the resources that the University is providing to students during these unprecedented times.

“The UD Career Center has expanded virtual services, programs and employer and alumni engagement initiatives to help Blue Hens pursue work and further education, secure relevant advice from industry experts and build skills to position themselves for professional success during this time of change and uncertainty,” said Helgeson.

Through the Career Center’s Virtual Hub, students can access virtual recruiting and career events, schedule career counseling appointments and meet with peer advisers, connect with employers and professionals, apply to jobs and internships through Handshake and utilize a number of career preparation resources.

Upcoming Events

On Thursday, May 7, the Biden Institute and UD Career Center are offering another interactive career workshop for UD students. Entitled “Careers on Capitol Hill,” the workshop will begin at 6:15 p.m. with opening remarks from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. From research and policy work, to communications and constituent relations, Capitol Hill offers a diverse range of opportunities for students interested in politics.

Students will hear from experts including economic policy aide Kelsey Daniels with the office of Delaware U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and communications director Subhan Cheema from the office of U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal from Washington state. They will share their experience transitioning from college students to senior staffers in the United States Congress. Students who join will be eligible to sign up for a limited number of one-on-one sessions with the speakers and other Biden Institute staff where they will review resumes and provide individualized tips on networking and more.

More Biden Institute virtual workshops and one-on-ones with national leaders are scheduled throughout the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, and are open to all UD students. Visit the Biden Institute website, and follow the Biden Institute on Twitter and Facebook for the most up-to-date information and to register for the May 7 event.

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