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College among the best at prepping students for U.S. government jobs

The College of William & Mary is ranked 18th in the nation at preparing students for jobs with the United States government. That was among the results revealed in a 2011 survey conducted by the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project of the Institute of the Teaching and Practice of International Relations, in collaboration with Professor Michael Desch, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Notre Dame University.  The individuals surveyed were current and former high level officials who work on U.S. foreign policy and national security issues for the U.S. government.

The College tied with the University of California, Berkeley.

“At William & Mary we see international experiences, both in study abroad and in coursework here on campus, as a crucial component of preparation for policy-related work in the twenty-first century,” said Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies. “With over 16,000 alumni living and working in the Washington, D.C., area, along with a dynamic William & Mary D.C. office, we are able to link up global education with practical, hands-on policymaking in a unique way.”

Sue Peterson, co-director of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations, also believes a W&M education provides students with the tools necessary to be successful in a federal government career.

"A William & Mary education, more than anything, teaches strong research, writing, and analytical skills.,” she said. “So, it's no surprise that our students flock to D.C. after graduation and that federal agencies are eager to hire large numbers of our graduates."

Many alumni now credit their time in Williamsburg as fostering a sense of civic engagement and responsibility.

“I found that the William & Mary culture of public service, along with academic excellence, led to government as a natural fit,” said Katherine Ball Schwartz ’09, who began her Foreign Service career with USAID. “I experienced this culture from the beginning as a freshman Sharpe Community Scholar and later received the Truman Scholarship for graduate studies in public service.

“Throughout their time at the College, students benefit from international opportunities, undergraduate research programs, D.C. connections, faculty support of awards in this field, and on-campus interviews for government jobs.”

Adds Jonathan Anderson ’08, a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, “Our school has a rich history of alumni that have served our country; it is no wonder that students come here to pursue that tradition.”

Notable W&M alumni include former Secretary of Defense and incoming W&M Chancellor Robert Gates, B.A. '65, former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer, B.A. '81, and U.S ambassador to Honduras Charles Ford, B.A. '72.