Tammen Nicholson (2nd from left) with Rep. Nydia Velasquez (3rd from left) and colleagues during the Advocacy Day at Capitol Hill

I work as the Program Manager for the Career Training USA program at InterExchange. We’re a Department of State designated visa sponsor for students and young professionals seeking practical intern or training experience in the United States. My team reviews and determines eligibility of both international interns and host employers before issuing visa sponsorship. Among other things, I’m responsible for liaising with overseas partner organizations and universities, keeping exchange visitor records accurate in the U.S. government database, and reporting to the State Department. 

One unique aspect of my job is that we are required to interview all prospective interns before issuing visa sponsorship. Our interview is essentially a dry run for their visa appointment at the US Embassy. While perhaps a little stressful for the candidates, the interviews are a highlight of my day. I get to meet interesting and motivated students and young professionals from across the globe. Last month, I interviewed someone who lived in the country where I did the Peace Corps and had the chance to dust off my language skills.

My IPED studies have been a good complement to my work. IPED courses help me better understand the effects of globalization, tariffs, and political relations on the international labor market. The writing exercises allow me to hone my writing skills, especially when communicating with the Department of State.

I’ve always been interested in international education and cultural affairs. I’ve contemplated the  Foreign Service but have been torn between the consular and public diplomacy cones. My current position combines these interests, while IPED courses strengthen my understanding of these fields.