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CIA Welcomes Students from the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership

This is the third in a series of articles about the work of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Community Outreach and Liaison Staff (COLS)housed in the Center for Mission Diversity and Inclusion (CMDI)in raising awareness of CIA's national security mission and expanding sources of mission-critical talent.


Earlier this summer, CIA hosted student interns from the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) as part of the Agency’s effort to improve outreach and recruitment in the Asian Pacific American community. CAPAL promotes Asian Pacific Americans’ interest and success in public service careers and sponsored 17 students—who hailed from across the country—for this event.

“This Agency gave me a chance, and I’m confident each of you will have similar opportunities, too, especially if you work hard in school." - Michael to CAPAL interns

Michael, a COLS officer, kicked off the event by connecting with the interns about a story from his college years, “During my senior year, I worked for a janitorial company that was contracted to clean a pharmacy. I was responsible for locking up at the end of every night. I firmly believe this experience helped lay the groundwork for my being hired at the Agency because of the level of responsibility entrusted in me.”

In addition to cleaning the pharmacy, Michael served as a professor’s assistant and was an active U.S. Air Force reservist during college. After graduating with honors, he worked at a bank and mortgage company before starting his career at the CIA. Each of these experiences helped strengthen his credentials for employment at the Agency.

“This Agency gave me a chance, and I’m confident each of you will have similar opportunities, too, especially if you work hard in school,” Michael said.

Employee Panel

Following Michael’s remarks, he and three members of an employee panel—comprised of Asian Pacific American officers from the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), National Clandestine Service (NCS) and the Recruitment Center (RC)—shared stories about their paths to the CIA and answered questions from the group.

In response to a question about the benefits of working for the CIA, Mary, a senior RC officer, said, “The Agency offers a wide variety of career mobility, rarely seen in today’s corporate world. This has been extremely beneficial to me, as I’ve had a chance to work in a diverse assortment of jobs, enabling me to continue to grow and learn throughout every stage of my career.”

Each panel member emphasized that they were hired because of their strong qualifications, including:

  • critical language skills,
  • math and science backgrounds,
  • strong writing skills,
  • time and organizational management,
  • leadership,
  • and interpersonal skills.

After the panel discussion, the CAPAL interns dined with Agency officers and toured the CIA Museum. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allowed the students to view Agency artifacts and learn more about the history and mission of the CIA.

The Agency’s Center for Mission Diversity and Inclusion has increased its collaboration with CAPAL and a number of other community organizations since 2011 with the goal of recruiting a highly skilled and diverse workforce. To learn more about CIA’s diversity outreach efforts, visit the Diversity section of To learn more about CAPAL, visit [external link disclaimer].

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Posted: Aug 29, 2013 02:34 PM
Last Updated: Aug 29, 2013 03:28 PM