Next month on September 24th, Wilkinson College will be hosting a special discussion about careers within the FBI and United States Department of State. What makes this discussion special is its guests: Vanessa Zenji, Matt Kawecki, and Dominic So—three Foreign Service Officers who are also current graduate students in our MA in War & Society program. The fourth guest, special agent Frederick J. Simon of the FBI, visited Chapman just this past December to deliver a well-received keynote speech for the Center for Undergraduate Excellence at the semi-annual CU Student Scholar Symposium.

This discussion will be an in-depth exploration, richer than the broad strokes of standard job talks, and will delve into the who, what, when, where and how you can explore career options in these fields with current Wilkinson students and a past university guest all working in the field at the helm of the discussion. What kind of careers are there working for the state? What kinds of skills can be applied? You will be surprised at the range of opportunities, Wilkinson College Career Adviser Erin Berthon was, after her initial conversations.

When asked what the number one misconception in their career area was, Matt responded, “Many people think that U.S. diplomats have all studied international relations or political science.  State Department foreign service officers and civil service officers come from a very wide range of educational and career backgrounds.” He went on to add, “If at any point in your career you think you may be interested in diplomatic work, take the Foreign Service Officer Test (info available at or look for civil service openings at”

Vanessa agreed, saying, “Foreign Service is not just for those interested in International relations specifically. There are many Foreign Service Specialist career possibilities for doctors, architects, facilities maintenance, office management specialists, IT specialists and those in law enforcement.”

What do the panelists hope participants will leave this information session with?

Dominic So said, “I hope that students realize that federal government jobs have great advantages and can provide many amazing life opportunities, as I have experienced first-hand. Though we may not hear much about government jobs being in Southern California, all of these jobs are accessible to people all over the country and around the world[.]”

This is sure to be more than your run-of-the-mill job talk with professionals and current students in the field ready to offer advice and suggestions to get your own possible career in the field taking off as soon as graduation. The talk will take place in Argyros Forum forum 209 B from 11 AM to 1 PM on September 24th. Want more information? Email Erin Berthon at