#ElliottProud: Alan Orquiza

#ElliottProud: Alan Orquiza

Alan Orquiza smiles proudly in his U.S. Capitol Police Lieutenant uniform. Alan Orquiza, b.A. International Affairs, 1992, #ElliottProud

Alan Orquiza graduated from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 1992 with a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in German Languages and Literature.  From 1990-1991, he was a junior year exchange student at the Otto Friedrich University of Bamberg, Bamberg Germany.  All ten of his courses were taught in German!  As a result of this exchange year, he is fluent in the German language and gets to use his skills on the job from time to time.  During his senior year, he participated in two U.S. Department of Justice Internships, one semester at the Office of Special Investigations, Criminal Division and the other at the Asylum Policy and Review Unit at the Office of Policy Development.  Alan Orquiza worked primarily in customer service for several major airlines before being hired to join the United States Capitol Police in 2000 during the 106th Congress.  Now approaching the end of the 117th Congress, he worked during the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, the anthrax attacks, six Presidential Inaugurations, one Republican Convention, one Democratic Convention, countless confirmation hearings, and demonstrations.  He was one of the resolute riot platoon commanders for the January 6, 2021 counting of the electoral votes.  Under his leadership during this terrible day, there were no Members of Congress and staff that were injured.

What is your current position? What are your favorite and/or challenging responsibilities?

I am a Lieutenant for the United States Capitol Police, Senate Division.  Ensuring that Congress carries out its legislative mission by providing our services to keep the Members, staff, and visitors safe.  From day one, this profession is not to be taken lightly.

How does your current position compare to what you thought you would be doing when you first started your degree at the Elliott School?

It was quite a surprise.  Public service within the Federal Government comes in all varieties and that’s what I have always wanted to do no matter what it was.  I suppose federal law enforcement is not a traditional career path for an Elliott School grad but it all worked out!

What part of your career do you find most rewarding and why? 

Being a part of a very important institution, the United Stated Capitol Police, that began in 1828.  I realize that being part of several major historical events can be overwhelming but at the same time be appreciated with first-hand knowledge and experience.  Such knowledge and experience can never be properly conveyed by history books or documentaries. 

How has your Elliott School graduate degree been valuable?

Dealing with people from all walks of life, countries, and cultures.  Many visitors coming to the United States Capitol for the very first time see it as a “life changing experience.”

What was the most rewarding aspect of your time at the Elliott School?

My opportunity to participate in my junior year exchange program at the Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg, Germany 1990-1991.  Living in another culture and language is an experience that can never be taught in school.

Who was your favorite professor at the Elliott School? 

Michael O. Moore, who taught International Economics.  I remember he told me that he studied at the University of Kiel before I went to the University of Bamberg for my exchange program.

What is your favorite place you have ever travelled? 

Sicily. I did not realize that Sicily used to be part of Greater Greece back in the day.  The Greek physicist Archimedes was born in the Greek City of Syracuse.  He has a couple of monuments there; one of him and one of Pi.  If you order a “Cannolo” they are huge!  Also I never knew tuna and pasta can be so delicious!  If you ever go to Sicily make sure you go to Agrigento, there are twelve temples to the Olympian Gods; Demeter and Apollo for example!

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The #ElliottProud profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights graduate program alumni to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.