Today, DistrictGPS features the second part of a five part interview-series with TFAS alumni working in the DC area.
Katie Fourmy is a program associate for Human Rights First where she coordinates the advocacy efforts for the Law and Security and Refugee Protection Program as well as manages the internship program. Before joining HRF she worked for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. She continues to serve as a mentor for the Center’s Presidential Fellows program. In 2006, Katie was a student in the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service and returned in 2007 as a Program Advisor. Katie is also a current TFAS Leadership Fellow.
Tell us a little about your current position; what is a typical day like for you?
I currently work as the program associate for the Law and Security Program at Human Rights First. In this capacity, I provide general administrative and research support for a team of 5 others as we focus on the U.S.’s counter-terrorism policies and how they may or may not fit into our laws and international obligations.
I start my days by scouring the news for stories, editorials, and blogs related to our work so that I can pass them along to the rest of the team. From there, it’s delightfully unpredictable. Some days I monitor hearings on Capitol Hill, track legislation and schedule meetings with Representatives’ and Senators’ staff members; other days, I’m hunkered down compiling and updating resources that we use to promote our issues.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Since I’m pretty much a backstop for the rest of the team, I get to work on a variety of issues, each of which I’m incredibly interested in. I’m always learning something new.
I also really enjoy working in a nonprofit environment. Our office is full of people who are completely dedicated to the issues that we work on, which makes for an intense, but encouraging atmosphere.
How do you feel TFAS prepared you for the position you’re in now?
First of all, I wouldn’t be in DC were it not for TFAS. TFAS connected me with the first internship I ever had—DC Central Kitchen. There I was able to gain what you’d hope to get from an internship: the skills that employers are looking for.
More importantly, I realized through TFAS that work in the nonprofit sector really fit my goals. I was able to see the diverse options that exist and the possibilities for both helping others and loving what I do.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current and potential TFAS students, whether about your career, DC, or the TFAS program?
Take every opportunity possible to meet others and network. You hear it all the time; you probably get sick of hearing it. But it is important!
When you talk with people who are doing something you think you might want to do down the line, find out how they got there. Reach out to them in the future to let them know that you appreciate the time they took to chat with you.
Just as important, in my opinion, is to keep in touch with your TFAS friends and colleagues. My former supervisor was an IPVS alum. Two of my best friends (who are also my most reliable resume and cover letter checkers) are TFAS alumni.
Take advantage of the myriad of opportunities TFAS presents you with, whether it’s networking, classes, lectures, social outings… they only enhance your experience.