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Embark: Navigating & Networking for Aspiring Policy Professionals

“Duke needs a program like Embark because the breadth of opportunities and careers in policy are not greatly advertised, and students frame their expectations around what they see around them."—Justin Bryant, PPS' 17, Embark Student Team Member

Expanding The Conversation

The Embark program is a student-driven initiative that helps students navigate and network to find jobs and career paths in policy related areas (e.g., Public Affairs, Capitol Hill, Advocacy & Lobbying, City Government, etc.). The aim is to connect them to alumni who work in organizations, think tanks or political offices that undergraduates are interested in. Embark also seeks to help create a sense of community among students interested in working in different policy areas.

About a third of public policy undergraduates choose first post-graduation jobs in finance and consulting, in part because banks and consulting firms recruit earlier in the academic year and are more visible on campus.

Embark exists to provide support for public policy majors who are interested in public service careers after graduation but are not sure how to approach the job search or what kinds of entry-level policy jobs they are equipped for. Embark will provide students with strategies and networking opportunities to guide them on a trajectory that is much less defined than the on-campus interviewing job search common for consulting and management training positions.

Assistant Internship Director Suzanne Valdivia heads the Embark program and works with a student advisory committee.

The program is also open to Duke students who are not majoring in public policy. The Embark team also includes Sandra Martinez Zuniga, assistant director at the Duke Career Center. The partnership between Sanford and the Duke Career Center makes it possible to reach a broader audience of students and to incorporate concrete job-seeking skills into the alumni-focused events being planned.

We are always looking for alumni to help with the program throughout the year by bringing their advice about job hunting in their specific areas to campus in a small, group setting.

2016-2017 Events

  • Embark Kickoff: Righthand Men to Pres Bush & Obama- PubPol Alums Reggie Love and Jared Weinstien
  • Women in Federal Govt: Exploring Career Pathways  - Alums Ambassador Coppedge, Lee Anne Jillings, Amy Pope, Andrea Wilson
  • Owning the Hill : How to Get Started on Capitol Hill  - Alums Bryan Fox and Alyssa Dack
  • Being Bold & Taking Risks: Tips for Building Job Search Contacts
  • Georgetown Non-Profit & Govt Expo:  Duke students attend this Career Fair and apply for jobs and internships
  • Embark Policy Networking Expo: Informational Interviews & Elevator Speech Workshops; Policy Area Round Table; Reception where Alums Meet Undergrads to Talk Entry-Level Jobs in Policy
  • Public Affairs/Political Communications: What’s an Average Day Like?

"Our goal is to expand the conversation about what’s possible."—Suzanne Valdivia, Embark Program Manager