Careers at the U.S. Department of State: Chimere


My name is Chimere, I am a Foreign Service
Specialist serving as a Security Engineering Officer.
A Security Engineering Officer, what do we do? It can run the gamut, oh my goodness gracious,
we can repair alarm systems, install alarm system, install cameras, we can travel as
a part of the advanced team for the Secretary of State, um, we can do inspections overseas,
we can inspect the network at various Department of State embassies overseas.
I was recruited directly out of college, out of Clemson University. And actually I went
all the way to the other side of the country to actually be recruited. I was a member of
the National Society of Black Engineers and we had our 2003 national convention in Anaheim,
California and that’s where I saw the State Department table. I knew absolutely nothing
about the State Department. I had never heard of the State Department.
I did hear of course of the Secretary of State. What got me excited about the job was the
travel. Granted, I was a little nervous at first when they told me I’d have to travel
overseas and live overseas because I had never been apart, well, that distance, from my family.
I am a country girl from South Carolina so, you know, I travelled distances maybe two
or three states over, stayed for about a week or so. Never two, two to three years away
from my family. That was really nervous, really made me nervous but I was willing to take
that chance. Well, when I served on Secretary’s detail where I served as a part of the advance
team for the Secretary of State, I visited approximately 16 different countries, some
of them being Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Mexico City, Lima, Peru, when I served in Dakar,
Senegal I was actually covering seven other embassies in seven other countries, um, ranging
from Mali to Guinea-Conakry to Cape Verde. So I’ve seen quite a bit of the world in
my short tenure with the Department of State. Social-wise I made sure that I was involved
in a lot of embassy activities. In West Africa we have WAIST, we have West African Invitational
Softball Tournament. So, I ran the concession stand for that and I found, you know, other
little groups that I could join. And tried to do things actually locally, attend local
concerts and things like that. So you can make a social life for yourself overseas.
This is a very educational and challenging experience for me. It, it gets me out of comfort
zone, definitely gets me out of my comfort zone as well as gives me the opportunity to
serve my country, to represent my country overseas without carrying a gun. So that’s
what keeps me going, being able to learn a new skill, being able to learn how to wire
up a panel or alarm system by myself, you know, it really gets me out of comfort zone
and it’s out of the box and I don’t have to worry about staying in a cube 24/7. There’s
always something exciting going on. My advice that I give to a lot of the engineers
that I may encounter at career fairs, is granted you could do a lot with engineering, you can
design, you can build. But if you want an out-of-the-box experience, an out-of-the-box
engineering job, I recommend that you go to careers.state.gov or talk to me some more.

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