Events

High Demand from Young Professionals for Career Advice & Networking

By: Katie O’Connell

The panel is all smiles
The panel is all smiles

I was absolutely thrilled to wake up on the morning of September 24, and see that we still had the wonderful problem of having a waiting list and trying to figure out how to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend yPIE in DC’s first panel event, “Shaping Your Future: Career Development in International Education.”

As some of you may know, up until September, yPIE has only planned happy hours. Earlier this year, six of us came together to form a board and figure out where we wanted to take yPIE. Could we be more than just happy hours? Was there interest in more networking, content, and discussions?

That night in September showed us that the answer to these questions is yes. Over fifty of you – young professionals in international education, students, and those looking to break into the field – came together for a lively panel and discussion.

National Council for International Visitors President Dr. Jennifer Clinton opened the event and asked tough questions to our panel of young professionals. Here’s some of their advice:

As a career advisor at the School for International Studies at American University (and a yPIE board member!) Marc St. Hilaire recommended trying your hand in a number of different areas within international education in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the field. Gaining different experiences will make you more competitive for other positions, and can help you decide which specialization you want to pursue. He equated networking and finding a mentor to being a lot like dating, “you aren’t trying to make a deep connection with everyone you meet, just the one or two people that can help you in your professional development.”

Full house!
Full house!

As a foreign service officer, Mara Anderson focused on the steps to break into public diplomacy, including the sound advice of gaining a bit of experience before pursuing graduate studies. She also gave insight into the Foreign Service exam.

Rudolph Becker, Trip and Calendar Coordinator at Washington International School encouraged the audience to explore opportunities for work overseas, and gave great tips on translating that experience into a career back in the United States.

Dr. Fanta Aw, NAFSA President and Assistant Vice President of Campus Life and Director of International Student and Scholar Services at American University, closed the panel with inspiring remarks for young professionals, reiterating that we are the future of the field and must not be afraid to break down barriers or obstacles in front of us.

What did you take away from the event? Do you have additional advice for advancing in the field of international education? We’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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