In an effort to promote internships and jobs for the federal government, Partnership for Public Service assigned three Federal Service Student Ambassadors to Penn State.
Each ambassador represents a different agency of the federal government. Kevin Cass is assigned to the Department of Energy, John-Paul Milton represents the Department of the Interior and Liz Bravacos works with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Bravacos (sophomore-finance) is a former Collegian columnist.
The majority of the universities with the program have only one assigned ambassador, but as a result of high job recruitment, Penn State was given three, Vice President of Education and Outreach for the Partnership for Public Service Tim McManus said.
“They want Penn Staters. They see the potential and quality education,” Milton (sophomore-energy engineering) said.
The Federal Service Student Ambassador program is a cost-efficient way to attract younger employees both for internships and jobs, Milton said. The point of the ambassadors is to be a resource to other students who have an interest in the federal government, Milton said.
McManus said some occupations in the federal government have trouble attracting workers because of a lack of knowledge of the careers available, especially in the fields of science, technology and math.
The program encourages students to apply for internships that can result in a “direct pipeline into federal service,” McManus said.
McManus said the rate of federal government interns that return to a job in the federal government is currently 6 percent.
“Students internships are utterly underutilized for hiring,” McManus said.
The ambassadors program creates a way for agencies to recognize the talent of the interns, value their experience and potentially hire for a job, McManus said.
The ambassadors are chosen based on the agency’s areas that need to be promoted, McManus said. Therefore, the agencies look at the ambassadors’ majors, abilities and personality, McManus said.
Bravacos said the application process is online, and the students have to send essays and a resume. Eventually, a phone interview will be conducted. If chosen, the ambassador will represent their agency for a school year, Bravacos said.
Cass (sophomore-mechanical and nuclear engineering) said he received an email last summer to apply for the position. Cass said the majority of ambassadors have previously interned for the federal government, but he has not.
Milton said even without the ambassador position, he would promote his internship at the Apartment of Interior Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
“After my summer internship, I was so pumped up to tell my peers about it. Ambassadors gives the opportunity,” Milton said.
The ambassadors are expected to recruit other students to apply for internships and jobs by retelling their internship experiences, McManus said.
The responsibilities of the ambassadors include meeting with administration, faculty and student organizations, Bravacos said. At these meetings, the ambassadors hold presentations and information sessions. Also, the ambassadors are expected to hold office hours and help students with the application process, Bravacos said.
Bravacos said the position is “unique” because it is peer-to-peer recruiting and completely student-run on a campus basis. The only adult leaders are in Washington, D.C., Bravacos said
Cass said the benefits for being an ambassador are the opportunity to network and see what the university has to offer to students. Also, the ambassadors get paid for their work, Cass said.