Every December the Office of Career and Professional Development at the Josef Korbel School offers students the chance to spend five days in Washington, DC to visit government agencies and non-government organizations to network and learn more about different career opportunities.
"D.C. is extremely important," Mira Morton Luna, the Associate Director of Employers and Career Development, said. "The lion share of jobs in this field are there. It's also a great way for employers to see the high caliber of students we have here."
More than 30 students traveled to the capital last December and visited such sites as the CIA's National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the State Department, Pentagon, US Institute of Peace, World Bank, CSIS and several others.
"The NCTC was my favorite site visit by far," first-year International Security student Ryan Hull said. "That is the mecca of counter-terrorism efforts for the United States. Being allowed to visit a former black site and be allowed inside the operations center was absolutely amazing. I felt like a kid in a candy store."
For Ashley Walburn, a first-year International Studies studies, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a foreign aid agency, was her favorite visit.
"Before researching for the trip I was very ignorant of the role MCC plays in American foreign aid," Walburn said. "Learning about this agency and the way it is able to supplement the work that USAID does, while giving countries ownership over their own development was fantastic. It is most definitely and organization that I would be interested in working for in the future."
Hull, Walburn and the other students paid a $200 administration fee for the trip in addition to all transportation and lodging costs. Many considered it a small price to pay for the benefits the trip provided.
"Even though I've been to D.C. many times, I wanted to take this opportunity to see the city from a different angle and see if I might be able to imagine myself living and working here," Walburn said. "I was also excited to get a brief inside look into the culture of the different employers we visited."
Morton Luna stressed the value of networking in today's business culture and in Washington, D.C., especially.
"It's a great networking opportunity," she said. "Employers are reminded that there's a school in Denver and we're one of the top 12 schools in the world. We also have very prestigious alumni in D.C. This trip builds an affinity with the school."
Thanks to the trip, Walburn experienced firsthand the importance of networking.
"I think the trip was very beneficial," she said. "I was able to make several connections with employers I may be interested in interning or working for. I also feel like the connections I made in the industry overall will be helpful in the future, regardless if I work for those specific agencies or not."
The Office of Career and Professional Development also offers a trip to New York City over spring break.
-M. Schwinn, MA candidate in International Security
Josef Korbel School of International Studies