SIA students gain unique networking and career opportunities on annual Washington D.C. trip

The Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) organizes an annual career exposure trip to Washington, D.C. to help its students explore career options, gain advice from potential employers, and build their professional networks.

SIA students in D.C.
SIA students on the annual career exposure trip to Washington, D.C. Credit: Image provided

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Over the course of two days this past October, 40 master’s students from the Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) had the opportunity to visit with leading nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks, and private businesses as part of SIA's annual career exposure trip to Washington, D.C. Led by SIA Director Dr. Mitchell Smith and Director of Career Services Grant Littke, the trip included visits to the World Bank, CRDF Global, D3 Systems, Kroll, and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security and International Trade Administration.

"SIA’s career trips enable our students to conceptualize their career paths. Students hear from employers precisely what they are looking for when hiring and they learn about opportunities to pursue the kind of work they will find most engaging," Dr. Smith said. "Students gain a sense of what a day looks like in different positions in the field. And hearing from alumni – in many case alumni who preceded our students by just a few years -- makes their looming career start tangible and exciting for our students. Overall, the career trip expands our students’ sense of what’s possible and sharpens their sense of what’s desirable for them."


The SIA Career Trip program—which includes a fall trip to D.C. in addition to an annual trip to New York City each spring—helps international affairs students gain new insight into the multiple directions they can take with their careers after graduation, and the necessary steps required to pursue those career paths.

Here is what SIA students had to say about this year’s D.C. trip.

Brisa Oliveira De Avila
Brisa Oliveira De Avila Credit: Tiesha Brunson/Penn State
Jeferson Tenorio
Jeferson Tenorio Credit: Tiesha Brunson/Penn State
Will Bame (right)
Will Bame and Anamika Singh Credit: Tiesha Brunson/Penn State


Another highlight of the trip was the SIA Alumni Reception, where students had the opportunity to meet and network with SIA alumni working in various international affairs-related fields. The reception is spearheaded by Kim Plummer, assistant director of alumni relations for SIA. The connections that come out of these receptions—held each year as part of the career trip—have been invaluable, both to past and current students, as they move forward in their professional development.

Visit our website to learn more about why Penn State SIA is a great choice to help you pursue a career in international affairs, including in foreign service, nonprofit organizations, teaching, research, and more.