This past October, 21 current RFG Fellows traveled to Washington, DC for the Robertson Foundation for Government’s annual Fall Gathering. This year’s Fall Gathering was special in that it represented the first in-person Fall Gathering since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fellows kicked off their time in Washington with a dinner at the Japanese Embassy, where they heard remarks from the Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Tamaki Tsukada on U.S.-Japanese engagement efforts and the importance of careers in public service. Deputy Chief of Mission Tsukada was joined in his remarks by RFG President Geoff Robertson and the Deans and senior leadership of each of the Foundation’s partner universities, including Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs; Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service; UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy; and the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. In addition to these remarks, Fellows had the opportunity to network with junior Embassy staff, who like them, were embarking on the first steps in their careers in public service. RFG Fellows also enjoyed learning about various aspects of Japanese food and culture, along with potential opportunities to study or work abroad in Japan through programs like the Boren Fellowship and JET Program. To view photos from this event, please check out our Photo Gallery.

A crucial part of the RFG Fall Gathering is giving Fellows the chance to learn more about potential career paths in the Federal Government. In support of this effort, RFG organized several employer site visits for Fellows to participate in during their visit to Washington. Over the course of a full business day, Fellows visited three Federal employers and met with agency representatives to learn more about the work of a particular agency and opportunities for pursuing internships and future jobs. Federal employers this year included the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the Smithsonian Institution; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the U.S. Department of Commerce; the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI; the U.S. Department of State; and the Treasury Department. A special element of these visits was the fact that RFG Alumni were on the informational panels at six out of the eight employers, encouraging current Fellows in their career interests and sharing their experiences serving in government. Each of these visits also included an interactive element, such as a briefing simulation led by the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department or a guided tour of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center, which educated Fellows on how this Center operates in the midst of a national disaster. To view photos from the Fellows’ employer site visits, please check out our Photo Gallery.

Another element of the RFG Fall Gathering was an evening reception for current Fellows and RFG Alumni. This event was an incredible networking opportunity for Fellows and Alumni as they mingled and spoke with RFG partners, members of the Robertson family, and recruiters and representatives from a variety of government agencies. To view photos from the reception, please check out our Photo Gallery.

To closeout the Fall Gathering, Fellows gathered together at the DACOR Bacon House for a full day of professional development workshops led by RFG Chief Program Officer for Fellowships & Career Development, Sharon Swabb, and the Director of Career Services at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy, Stephanie Boomhower. Workshop topics included sessions on career pathways in the U.S. Foreign Service, salary negotiation techniques, and strategies for crafting and tailoring your Federal Resume. The workshops also included a session on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) and your career in which the Fellows had the opportunity to take the MBTI® personality assessment, receive interactive coaching on their assessment results, and learn how to apply the results of their assessment to their career planning efforts. 

RFG is thrilled to have its annual Fall Gathering return to in-person programming, and both the Foundation and its Fellows look forward to what’s in store for the RFG Fall Gathering in 2023.