Students Visit the White House for Women's History Month

Students Visit the White House for Women's History Month

On March 28, 2024, twenty graduate students from APSIA institutions and undergraduates connected through the Public and International Service Advisor (PISA) Network were invited to a Women in National Security Careers event at the White House in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Organized by the US National Security Council in cooperation with APSIA, the students heard from Mason Clutter, Chief Privacy Officer/Chief FOIA Officer for the US Department of Homeland Security, Sarah Beran, National Security Council Senior Director for China and Taiwan, and Lauren Stephens, Chief of Staff at the Peace Corps.

Panelists all agreed that they were called to public service out of a desire to contribute to something larger than themselves. They stressed the importance of delivering quality work, recognizing your own strengths and needs as they change over time, and seizing opportunities when they are presented. Each woman also shared her experiences finding advisors and mentors, including among their peers.

When you are the only [whatever] in the room, you can feel like the odd person out, panelists said; others may assume things about you just because you are present, not because these things are true. Build relationships; that is the primary way projects move forward. Know and articulate your personal needs without apologizing. Be a team player while recognizing that your contributions change as you advance in your career. Don’t select yourself out of situations; if they invite you to do the job, they see something in you, one panelist said. Finally, panelists reminded attendees to think about their personal and professional presence online in order to protect how they are perceived (as well as their security clearance).

More than 860 APSIA and PISA students submitted their names to attend the event from which the White House selected attendees. Participating students came from a range of APSIA and PISA institutions, including the American University School of International Service, Bowie State University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Syracuse University Maxwell School, and University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

This event was complemented by an online session for additional APSIA and PISA students on March 29.