Carnegie Mellon University

IPS Professional Development Series


The Institute for Politics and Strategy Professional Development Series provides opportunities for IPS declared majors and minors to network, to learn about internships, and to build valuable skills to help prepare for life after CMU. The series presents a wide array of learning opportunities for students. In the Spring 2020 semester alone, IPS students went through a counterterrorism and intelligence exercise with a National Counterterrorism Center recruiter; heard from a lawyer for the National Security Agency; discussed the difficulties of running a city during the COVID-19 pandemic with the mayor of Pittsburgh's chief of staff; and participated in a LinkedIn workshop.  

Sessions are held throughout the academic year, and each will focus on a different topic. Please email the program manager to learn more.



Tuesday, October 6, 2020
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EDT
Register here.

Graduate School Panel

Are you considering attending graduate school but aren't sure where to start? Then join IPS' virtual Graduate School Panel for a chance to hear from three alumni and postdocs who took three different paths to their graduate degrees. Learn what went into their decisions and how the choice has impacted their careers. Come with questions! Kelly Wadsworth, the IPS Graduate Program Manager, will moderate a discussion and then share some tips for how to have a competitive graduate school application.

Meet the Panelists:

Ian Asenjo graduated from IPS' Accelerated Masters Program in 2019 and now works as a Central America & North America Analyst at SR-M.

Kimby Josephson graduated from IPS in 2013 and had a career in international development before pivoting to pursue her MBA. She completed her MBA program at the University of Michigan this year and now works as a Manager of International Lending Product Management at American Express.

Johnathan Cervas is a current Postdoctoral Fellow at IPS. He received his PhD at University of California, Irvine and his dissertation is a historical, quantitative look at the Electoral College and its consequences.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EDT
Register here

Careers in International Development & Humanitarian Affairs Panel Discussion 

Are you interested in learning more about a career in international development or humanitarian affairs? Join us to hear from a panel of international development and humanitarian professionals about their personal career journeys, different career paths in the field, and more. Come with questions! Meghan Mattern, the CMU/WSP Program Manager, will introduce the speakers and moderate the discussion.


Preethi Nampoothiri

Deputy Director of Refugee Resettlement, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Ayan Kishore

Director, Creative Development Lab

Carey Utz

Middle East Youth Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Julia Hanby

Special Assistant to the Senior Coordinator of the Inter-Sector Coordination Group in Cox's Bazar, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

*Registration required to receive Zoom access information

Wednesday, October 14: 2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
Register here

Professional Journey Roundtable Discussion with CIRP Policy Forum Guest Speaker Brigadier General Jennifer Buckner

The Institute for Politics and Strategy is pivoting the roundtable discussions happening in conjunction with the CIRP Policy Forum lectures to focus on the professional journey of the guest speaker in order to provide you with a more robust professional development series. BG Buckner is the former Director of Cyber for the US Army and is the current Senior Vice President for Technology Risk Management at Mastercard, so she has a lot of experience to share with you.

Thursday, October 22, 2020
4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. EDT
Register here

Professional Journeys Discussion with Jason England, Assistant Professorof English at Carnegie Mellon University

Join us to learn more about the professional journey of Jason England, an Assistant Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT
Register here

A Conversation with US National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien

Join us for a conversation with Robert O'Brien, the US National Security Advisor. Prior to working in that role, he served as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the US Department of State. Working for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, O’Brien led the US government’s diplomatic efforts on overseas hostage-related matters. He worked closely with the families of American hostages and advised the senior leadership of the US government on hostage issues. O’Brien also coordinated with the interagency Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell on the development and implementation of US hostage recovery policy and strategy.

Thursday, October 29
2:00-3:15 p.m. EDT
Register here

Professional Journey Roundtable Discussion with CIRP Policy Forum Guest Speaker Jason Blazakis

Description: The Institute for Politics and Strategy is pivoting the roundtable discussions happening in conjunction with the CIRP Policy Forum lectures to focus on the professional journey of the guest speaker in order to provide you with a more robust professional development series. Dr. Blazakis is a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) where he focuses on threat financing, sanctions, violent extremism, and special operations related research. He is also the Director of MIIS’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism where he directs research on domestic terrorism, terrorism finance, recruitment, propaganda, and the use of special operations to counter transnational threats.

Thursday, November 12, 2020
4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST

Professional Journeys Discussion with Conrad Tucker, Arthur Hamerschlag Career Development Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University

Register here.

Friday, November 13, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST

Networking Workshop with Juan Acosta

Join Juan Acosta, a 2015 Carnegie Mellon graduate, for a virtual workshop to help with the ever-difficult task of networking. 

Register here.

Rescheduled for Spring 2021. Check back soon for more details.


Federal Agencies Panel

The Institute for Politics and Strategy assembled a panel of current and former federal officials to demystify careers within government agencies -- how to find one, what they are like on a day-to-day basis, and how to succeed in the government environment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST

A Conversation with Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, former US Ambassador to Malta

Register here.

Rescheduled for Spring 2021. Check back soon for more details.


Law Panel

Considering law school and/or a legal career? Join IPS for a panel discussion about choosing a law school, the law school application processes, how to thrive in the tough educational environment, and what you can do with a law degree. Check back soon for registration and panelist information!



February 5, 2020

Intelligence and Government Career Expo (during Encompass from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., on the 2nd floor of the CUC)

Intelligence Community Panel (featuring panelists from the CIA, DIA, FBI, NGA, and NSA, and will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
February 25, 2020

Visit from a campus recruiter for the National Counterterrorism Center.

Agenda to include individual meetings with students interested in careers in the Intelligence Community, as well as an analytic simulation, which will be a race against the clock as students evaluate intelligence reports, determine analytic lines of effort, brief their findings, and assess how new developments impact their assumptions and prior analyses. 

April 1, 2020

Documentary and Discussion with Professor Kiron Skinner

Students joined Professor Skinner for a remote group viewing and discussion of the Oregon Public Broadcasting documentary “1968,” which detailed the tumult of that year in American history.    

April 6, 2020 National Security Agency and the Law with Paul Richelmi (DC 2004), Cyber Security and Data Privacy Attorney, NSA

Mr. Richelmi discussed how Carnegie Mellon helped him on his career path, provided advice for a career with NSA, and detailed how COVID-19 has impacted his job and the agency.

Mr. Richelmi spent twelve years in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the Navy before joining the NSA. He shared three things Carnegie Mellon gave him as he entered the workforce: Hold yourself to a high standard; seek diversity of opinion and background when collaborating; and “If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.”

“I think that’s really applicable to what we have now,” Mr. Richelmi said. “… It speaks volumes to how resilient Carnegie Mellon is to have these events and pull these together.”

April 14, 2020

Fireside Chat with Dan Gilman (DC 2004), Chief of Staff for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto

Majoring in Ethics, History, and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon taught Dan Gilman two important skills: How to write, and how to think critically. Gilman, a Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences alumnus, uses those skills in his role as Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. During a virtual fireside chat with the Institute for Politics and Strategy on April 14, Gilman recommended that CMU students take courses in Philosophy, which he found beneficial, and suggested studying Computer Science, which he wishes he had done.

During the talk, Gilman discussed Pittsburgh’s response to the spread of COVID-19 and its ripple effects on healthcare, infrastructure, and food insecurity. He spoke of the tireless efforts and collaboration of city officials nationwide to mitigate risk and plan for the future. And he ended with a light-hearted window into city government: “Parks and Rec,” he said, “is hilariously accurate.”

April 22, 2020

IPS LinkedIn Workshop with Dietrich College Career and Professional Development Center

The Dietrich College CPDC team presented a LinkedIn workshop where they discussed the best search strategies to find alumni and other professional contacts, how to create an effective profile, and how to use LinkedIn for job searching. 

April 24, 2020

Zoom Town Hall with IPS Director, Professor Kiron Skinner

Professor Skinner and IPS Deputy Director Emily Half hosted an IPS Town Hall on Zoom. During the meeting, students had the opportunity to talk with Professor Skinner and Emily in an open format and remain connected during the time of physical distancing.

April 27, 2020

Information Literacy with IPS Professor Dan Silverman


Real news, or fake? Professor Silverman discussed how to leverage insights from political psychology to become an informed citizen, seek out balanced perspectives, and navigate ever-increasing disinformation. He provided examples of stories both real and fabricated and discussed ways to tell the difference. 

April 29, 2020

IPS Virtual Social Hour: Follow-Along Baking Class

Students and staff followed along with IPS Program Director Alli Frymoyer as she demonstrated how to make browned-butter crisped rice treats. 



Date Title
September 11, 2019 Resume Workshop with Kristin Staunton from CMU's Career and Professional Development Center
September 23, 2019 National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Internship and Career Session with Jessica Branch, NGA Campus Recruiter
October 17, 2019 Foreign Service Internship and Career Session with Tiffany McGriff, Diplomat-in-Residence
November 20, 2019 Writing Workshop with IPS Professor Ignacio Arana