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2021 In-Demand Careers in International Affairs

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University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Students Find Their Niche Exploring Diverse Pathways to Public Service

In the changing world of public service—where local governments are addressing problems such as climate change, and the United Nations and other multilateral organizations are tackling issues related to urbanization—students at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) learn that there are many ways to serve the public good.

While the US Department of State and CIA employ many of GSPIA’s graduates, others find equally meaningful work in a range of sectors, for example, working to improve the lives of recently resettled refugee and immigrant families at a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, or spearheading clean energy programs for the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines.

“We focus on revealing the diverse pathways to public service,” says Carissa Schively Slotterback, dean of GSPIA.

Each fall semester, GSPIA students have access to the school’s Global Security and Development Program at its Pitt Washington Center in Washington, DC. For the spring semester, the Pitt Washington Center focuses on lobbying, advocacy, and public diplomacy. While taking courses, most students also work at an internship and connect with alumni based in the capital region. During spring break, GSPIA hosts a career fair at the center that includes site visits to potential employers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities—normally in person, but virtual during the pandemic.

“Students have the flexibility to gain learning and practice experiences that prepare them for career opportunities, from local governments and community-based organizations to federal agencies and global NGOs.” –Carissa Schively Slotterback, Dean, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

GSPIA’s alumni base of more than 6,500 in more than 130 countries is an asset in generating internship opportunities and facilitating professional networking. “Zoom has made it easier to connect our students with alumni and other change makers. We will carry this kind of engagement forward as we transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Slotterback says. “We’re really intentional about engaging alumni. It’s inspiring to hear them reflect on their time at GSPIA and how it has shaped where they are now.”

GSPIA students have held internships at the US Department of Treasury, FBI, and World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Of its 2019 graduating class, 96 percent were employed or pursuing further study within one year after graduation.

As one of a few graduate schools worldwide offering a concentration in Human Security, GSPIA draws students who want to work on issues involving the security of civilian and vulnerable populations affected by disasters, climate change, human trafficking, and conflict. Program graduates have been hired by the United Nations Development Programme, the US Government Accountability Office, and Global Links Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, graduates of GSPIA’s popular Security and Intelligence Studies concentration have landed jobs with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, BNY Mellon, and the US Department of Commerce.

Admissions: gspia.pitt.edu/AdmissionandFunding