Studio Y – Recent grads recruit young people to federal service

Agencies are always looking for young people to recruit as interns or possible future employees.

One strategy that seems to make sense is using young employees or recent interns to visit college campuses to talk up the advantages of a career in federal service.

That’s the idea behind the Partnership for Public Service’s Federal Student Ambassadors program.

“The Federal Student Ambassadors program is a way to recruit young individuals and individuals at colleges to federal service,” said Emily McConnell, associate manager of the Partnership’s education and outreach team. “We’ll work with different agencies, work with their current, high-performing interns, kind of train them on how to best talk about federal programs as well as different opportunities at campuses and then deploy them back on to their campuses, where they’re able to be first hand ambassadors representatives, 24-7, about that different agency, their opportunities and the great work that they got to do as a intern there.”

One thing the Partnership has learned in talking to students at the various campuses its representatives visit is that there is a definite interest among students to join the federal service.

“They’re not sure really how to get their foot in the door,” McConnell said. “How to best tweak their application, how to make sure they know about every opportunity and all the different agencies that could be applying for.”

That’s where FSA comes in. The ambassadors act as, well, ambassadors to the federal service, talking to their peers about their own experiences interning or working for an agency.

FSA ambassador Michelle Marcarelli is a consumer safety officer in the Office of Scientific Investigations (OSI), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While she was still a student at the University of Maryland, she began her career as an intern at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) in the Office of Compliance (OC) and as an office automation clerk.

Interning proved to be such a positive experience that when she heard about FSA, she jumped at the chance to go back to school to talk to her peers about working in the federal government.

“I understand the stresses and uncertainty that comes with being a student and looking at federal positions,” Marcarelli said. “I think it can be difficult to kind of understand what you need to do in order to create your application and look at the jobs that may be applicable to you and get a better idea about the benefits of FDA and actually just the federal government in general.”

Michael O’Connell

In the latest installment of the Studio Y podcast, producers Michael O’Connell and Nicole Ogrysko talk to Emily McConnell of the Partnership for Public Service and Michelle Marcarelli of the Food and Drug Administration about the Federal Student Ambassadors program and the efforts to recruit young people into a career in the federal government. They also talk about their own experiences transitioning from being college interns to working professionals. Subscribe to Studo Y or download episodes on iTunes or on AudioBoom.


Studio Y: Understanding your next-generation workforce