Program Manager at Institute of International Education
Hispanic Studies Major
When I jumped into the think tank world, I hadn’t fully grasped what think tanks do. I thought, is that just a buzzword in the DC world? What is their role? I didn’t learn overnight what that was—it unfolded over time.
I was taking a plunge into something that is not traditional for anybody in my family. When you’re coming from a background of doctors and lawyers and engineers, and making a shift into something that’s completely new territory, you don’t really have a mentor to tell you, “you need to do ABC steps to get to point Z.” I’m carving my own trajectory and figuring it out along the way.
You cannot understate how important it is to network. That’s how I landed both my jobs in DC. I wasn’t just dropping my resume into a black hole on the internet.
I landed at the Institute of International Education, which is where I am today as a program manager on the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship, a Fulbright exchange activity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. I work closely with U.S. Embassies and Fulbright Commissions around the world, and have the good fortune of meeting fellows who come from over 97 countries annually and supporting their leadership development.
You cannot understate how important it is to network. That’s how I landed both my jobs in DC. I wasn’t just dropping my resume into a black hole on the internet, I was dropping emails to contacts of contacts of contacts—often times three or four times removed, tailoring my elevator pitch in each message. The gist was “Hey, I’m looking for a job, this is what I’m looking to do, can you help me out, here’s my resume, and any feedback you can give me would be great.” And people would say, “Well I don’t know of someone, but I think somebody else is looking to fill a position. Let me pass your resume along.” Both of my job opportunities happened that way. — March 1, 2019 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons