Where could your career take you?

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Students had the opportunity to tour multiple sites in New York City and Washington, D.C., on a recent outreach trip put together by the GPS Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC). | Contributed photo

Students visit New York and Washington, D.C., through a Career and Professional Development Center outreach trip, networking with alumni and getting an insider’s look at diverse industries

With a degree from the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), you can make an impact anywhere. 

But during their studies, many students ask themselves: where to? How do I take what I’ve learned to help launch or reimagine my career? 

And that’s where the GPS Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) comes in. Along with providing regular workshops, one-on-one advising and notifications of job and internship opportunities, the CPDC team offers regular outreach trips to various U.S. cities. 

During these excursions, students have the opportunity to explore diverse industries and expand their network by meeting GPS alumni living and working in these regions.

In late March, several GPS students participated in an outreach trip to New York City and Washington, D.C. 

In New York, students visited the offices of Google, Salesforce, the U.N. and The Brazil Foundation; in Washington, the group visited a number of sites, including the East Wing of the White House, the World Bank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, the U.S. Treasury Sanctions Office and the U.S. Department of State. 

“We visited the companies and took small tours of the buildings, like at the World Bank, and had informational meetings with alumni in the conference rooms, where we had the chance to ask the alumni any questions we had,” said Yuchen Chen, Master of Public Policy (MPP) ’25 candidate. “This developed a rich ‘what if I worked here’ knowledge for me.”

In both cities, students also took part in an alumni happy hour reception, drawing 20 attendees in New York and 70 attendees in Washington. The Washington event gave students the chance to mingle with both alumni and GPS leadership, with Dean Caroline Freund, Director of Engagement and Development Marilyn Li, Senior Career Consultant Laura Leach and CPDC Director Stephanie Boomhower in attendance. 

“It felt like meeting up with friends, sharing thoughts and life experiences that encouraged me to continue exploring my career path when I still have lots of flexibility before graduation,” Chen said. 

Leach highlighted the importance of students building relationships with alumni before graduation — and the crucial role CPDC plays in fostering these professional connections. 

“For the students, it gives them the opportunity to speak with alumni in their organizations, how GPS helped them in their careers, networking opportunities to stay connected after graduation and a glimpse into the sectors they are thinking about their career paths,” Leach said. “For the CPDC, it continues to connect us with employers who hire GPS graduates and our alumni who give so much of their time and money to many of our programs.”

Benjamin Castro Martinez during the outreach trip | Contributed photo

Benjamin Castro Martinez, Master of International Affairs (MIA) ’25 candidate, said it was also beneficial to experience two major U.S. cities firsthand. 

“New York was the opportunity to delve into what metropolitan life means, and D.C. was the opportunity to stand in a landmark of contemporary political history,” Castro Martinez said. “In New York, I had such good conversations with alumni regarding work-life balance in this highly competitive city, enjoyed great food, and loved going to ‘Hamilton’ on Broadway. And in D.C., I got to enjoy the cherry blossoms, run through the historical sites, and had very informative conversations with alumni and potential employers regarding opportunities and strategies to get in.”

Castro Martinez said both the short- and long-term benefits of participating in these outreach trips — gaining culture, clarifying your professional vision, and networking with experienced professionals — cannot be quantified in its value. 

“It’s only by being ‘out there’ that you get closer to achieving your goals,” he said.

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Virginia S. Watson is the Assistant Director of Communications for the School of Global Policy and Strategy. She has spent her entire career in editing, writing and design, both in industry and higher education. She holds a master's in technical and professional communication from Auburn University and a B.S. in journalism from Troy University.
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