U.S. Department of State brings unique career showcase to UNCP

UNCP junior Harry Lamichhane tests a DS Drone Defender during the U.S. Department of State career showcase on February 26
UNCP junior Harry Lamichhane tests a DS Drone Defender during the U.S. Department of State career showcase on February 26

A pre-law student at UNC Pembroke, Allison Jones dreamed of attending law school after graduation. However, after attending a U.S. Department of State career showcase on campus, Jones is considering the diplomatic workforce and embarking on a career as a security service leader.

“I’m interested in broadening my career path,” Jones said. “They were sharing all these opportunities about studying abroad and traveling, which excited me!”

Jones, a freshman, was among a crowd of students who engaged with two dozen special agents with the State Department. Students experienced what it was like to jam frequencies from hostile drones at a virtual reality station. Outside, others got an up-close look at a fully armored Toyota Land Cruiser and toured the Mobile Tactical Operations Command Center.

Harry Lamichhane, a junior computer science student, said he, too, was enticed by the thought of a career that would allow him to travel the world.

“The recruiters spoke to me about becoming a security engineer and the cybersecurity side within the State Department, but what attracted me was the benefits and the chance to see the world––which is my dream,” Lamichhane said.

The Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) organized the showcase, which is responsible for the security of 275 diplomatic posts worldwide. Diplomatic Security Service personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States. The tech showcase also featured agents from several other bureaus, including Arms Control Deterrence and Stability, the Bureau of Arms Control, Deterrence, and Stability, and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Cassondra Searight, the diversity and inclusion officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service from the Prospect community, was instrumental in bringing the showcase to her hometown.

“The goal is to increase the diversity in the hiring pipeline and educate students on the various internships, scholarships and fellowships, like the Clarke DS graduate fellowship.”

“I’m a member of the Lumbee tribe, and I wanted our youth to have equitable access to and knowledge of the wonderful careers we offer,” Searight said. “I understand firsthand many of the hardships our youth face and I wanted to give back to my community and expose the youth to the awesome opportunities at the State Department."

Seawright was joined on campus by Gentry Smith, assistant secretary of state for Diplomatic Security, who spoke to political science classes and met with university leadership.

“We are excited about our time on campus today,” Smith said. “We are going to be touring several campuses throughout North Carolina. It’s always invigorating when you engage the students. We just came from a class where we had a very in-depth conversation about the importance of what we do and how they can put those degrees to work in ways they may have not been aware.”