A student talks with an employer during one of WPI's biannual career fairs held in the Sports & Recreation Center.

Global Impact at the CDC

Event with former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia may spark student interest in international and Foreign Service careers
November 13, 2018

WPI’s Career Development Center (CDC) regularly invites employers and other industry professionals to meet with students on campus. These meetings are an invaluable resource as students start planning life after college and how they’ll apply their skills to their chosen fields.

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, the CDC will host Robert Blake, former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia. Brought about by a connection made by Peter Hansen (history professor, director of WPI’s International & Global Studies program, and member of the Board of Directors for the Worcester World Affairs Council), Blake will meet with students to discuss careers in international relations and the Foreign Service.

CDC executive director Steve Koppi says the talk is part of the CDC’s contribution to the university’s recommitment to impact, paired with theory and practice.

“We’re excited to be partnering with faculty and departments to offer programs like this where students can really get a glimpse of the bigger picture of how they can have impact,” Koppi explains, adding that events like this are important in combining all multidisciplinary aspects of a WPI education, showing students that there are many different things they can do with a single degree, and they don’t have to think of their major and their career as a one-to-one relationship.

“We’re excited to be partnering with faculty and departments to offer programs like this where students can really get a glimpse of the bigger picture of how they can have impact.” -Steve Koppi

“I hope students attending the session will see that they can translate their global experiences at WPI into careers in diplomacy and politics as well as business and engineering,” Hansen adds.

Although it’s difficult to gauge the amount of interest students currently have in international careers or careers in foreign service, Koppi says the CDC is working to provide more resources for them, and actively challenging them to step back and cultivate a wider perspective on the possibilities their futures hold.

“Global impact will be even more important in the years to come,” he says, “and our office needs to be involved and responsive to those interests that students have.”

Whether students are interested in taking traditional or nontraditional pathways to international work, Koppi hopes the talk will inspire students to make connections, think more broadly about opportunities available to them, and receive insider information from Blake on how international careers work and how they can take the next step in building their own.

Koppi and the CDC staff are pleased to have the opportunity to host Ambassador Blake. They look forward to offering similar events in the future that give students the chance to think more broadly about the options that await them following graduation.

“Our students are very engaged,” says Koppi, “so what I find rewarding and exciting is to partner with faculty to foster these interactions and bring someone with a unique perspective to campus to interact with them.”

- By Allison Racicot