Andrew Reighart, student at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, is making the most of his time in graduate school through the help of his Robertson Foundation for Government Fellowship and other opportunities the School has provided him. In addition to the programs offered through the School of Public Policy, Reighart also receives full tuition, a cost of living stipend and summer internship assistance from the Robertson Foundation.
“My Robertson Fellowship means a tremendous deal to me,” Reighart says. “It means that I am able to have a graduate education. Without debt, I can now pursue any opportunities following my degree.”
Specializing in environmental policy and international security and economic policy, Reighart says his ultimate goal is to work for the federal government. “I’m somebody who’s very interested in politics, I’m also very interested in the intersection of science and policy, particularly around climate change mitigation and adaptation,” he says. “I want to be able to communicate with the security defense community as well as the development community about the need for action on climate change.”
In addition to the strong domestic program, Reighart points out the great international program at the School. “I had the fortune of going to Indonesia over the winter, and the class focused on sustainable development and environmental policy. We were able to learn both a lot about the culture and the environment.” He adds that although he didn’t know a lot about the country prior to the course, he was able to get the experience of jumping in and learning on the go, a skill that will prove helpful in his career domestically. “In federal government a lot of times you have to dig in really quickly and get up to professional working speed fast, so that kind of course really helped me there.”
It’s incredibly easy to find people to talk to and get career advice, so that’s a tremendous way that I’ve enhanced my ability to pursue a career in government.Andrew Reighart SPP Student
During the summer, Reighart completed an internship in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department. “I was able to brief our ambassador on business climate issues in Panama and Bulgaria. I was able to attend high-level meetings, draft briefing memos and attend social events through the department,” he says. “Networking can really enhance your ability to find a job.”
Reighart says he’s also working on forming lasting bonds with his fellow students. “I have a really tight group of friends who are also Robertson Fellows,” he says. “My cohort is a pretty tight knit group, we really care about each other. Having a small cohort helps you feel at home. It gives me the feeling that I’m intimately involved in other people’s lives, that they care about me and I care about them and we all work together to find job opportunities.”
While pursuing his Master of Public Policy degree, Reighart is focusing on developing his professional network as well as his personal one. “Both the University of Maryland and the Robertson Foundation have their own career services people, and both are just incredibly gifted and kind and generous with their time,” he says. “You can sit down with them, go over your resume and talk through options. They make themselves available to you, and they have great networks. You will always be able to find somebody to do an informational interview with at whatever agency you want to. It’s incredibly easy to find people to talk to and get career advice, so that’s a tremendous way that I’ve enhanced my ability to pursue a career in government.”