FDA-Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Director of Communications Shares Public Service Career Advice at Annual Conference | FIU News

Hundreds of students, alumni, and career development professionals from the Florida State University system, colleges, and private universities gathered at CRF last month to network and learn about job opportunities. employment with federal agencies at 17e Annual Federal Government Statewide Conference.

The annual conference, hosted by the Career and Talent Development FIU, featured representatives from nearly 30 federal agencies, including the White House, the US Office of Personnel Management, branches of the US military, the US Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and more.

Agency officials participated in panel discussions covering topics such as careers in STEM and criminal justice in the federal government, dispelling myths about federal hiring practices, becoming a political appointee, and putting your law degree in federal government service. They also participated in a resource fair where they met and networked with attendees to share available hiring opportunities from their agencies.

A group of students interested in Federal Government employment opportunities attend the 17th Annual Statewide Federal Government Conference at FIU

In recent years, CRF students and alumni have been hired for federal positions within the US Department of Health and Human Services; the US Department of Homeland Security; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Peace Corps; and the United States Department of Agriculture as a direct result of the conference, according to a recent survey of participating organizations.

“The FIU has so many students and alumni interested in federal employment. This conference is a valuable tool for them to better understand the federal hiring process, which differs in some ways from hiring processes in the private sector,” said Nelly Leon, Associate Director of Career Services at the College of Engineering & Computing and this conference planning committee chair of the year. “On behalf of the planning committee, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone who attended this year, as well as the federal agency representatives who participated as panelists and keynote speakers and spoke to students during resource fair.

The CRF maintains an ongoing partnership with the federal government to recruit talent into the public service. In fact, CRF alumni have gone on to careers at all levels of federal government in Washington, D.C., and students are increasingly attracting the attention of recruiters and agencies as intelligent and diverse representatives whose government has need.

Molly O’Halloran, program manager for diversity, equity, and inclusion in USAID’s Latin America and Caribbean Bureau, said she was impressed with the caliber of the Panthers she has met during the conference.

“At each encounter, I was deeply impressed by the professionalism, depth of knowledge and broad perspectives of life and the world that the students brought to the table,” said O’Halloran, who also visited the FIU when the university signed a historic agreement to increase jobs, internships and research.

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James-Denton Wyllie ’08 talks to Washington, DC students virtually about his public service career

James Denton Wyllie ’08
In a keynote speech, Communications alumnus James-Denton Wyllie 2008 shared his insights on a career in public service and advice for interested students and alumni. Wyllie is a U.S. Army Veteran and the Director of Communications for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). In this role, he oversees public affairs, strategic communications planning, organizational marketing, digital communications operations, stakeholder outreach, media relations and crisis communications.

“In a career in public service, you have the opportunity to make changes in areas of great importance,” Wyllie said, adding that throughout his own career there has not been a single year. where he has not had the opportunity to work on an issue of national or global importance, from 9/11 and counter-terrorism operations to national food supply issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and more.

Prior to joining CDER, Wyllie led the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Communications Office, served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Navy’s Office of Information External Communications Division, and more. . Wyllie is also a member of the Senior Executive Service.

Contrary to what some might believe, Wyllie said careers in public service also offer the opportunity to express yourself and explore work that inspires passion.

“There is no other type of job where you can be more yourself than in a public service career. It offers a lifetime of opportunities and a lifetime of options.

The key to success in public service? “Priorization, not balance,” Wyllie said, adding that he felt there was no real sense of balance. It takes learning to determine which priorities are most important at any given time and also having the ability to pivot gracefully and intentionally as priorities change – which in public service can happen in an instant.

Wyllie said stepping into the door to her first federal job after graduating from CRF took patience and determination. “I applied for job after job after job. I made applying for jobs a job in itself, and I continued to refine and strengthen my resume and cover letter. I made it a point to learn from [rejections] wondering how I could become a more attractive candidate for future opportunities.

His best advice for new candidates is to consider the types of risks they are willing to take for the opportunity to launch or advance their careers. Are they ready to leave their home? Are they willing to accept a certain salary or take on a fixed-term position that may only last six months or a year? Are they willing to consider agencies or organizations that may not be their target agency to accept a good offer elsewhere in their chosen field?

Above all, Wyllie encourages students to remember that “public service is ultimately about the people you serve.”

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