Valerie Brock Naglich ’03 is living proof that a well-rounded liberal arts education can prepare you for just about anything. She came to Converse to study music. Early in her freshman year, she also fell in love with the study of international politics and added a politics major. She says that her double major was great preparation for her work leading a Global HIV and AIDS Team for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The connection with my politics major probably seems obvious, since I work for the federal government. I regularly use information from my politics courses including Congress, public administration, and economics. I also use research, leadership, and debate skills acquired through my participation in Model Arab League.”
“My general advice for any college student: study abroad and become fluent in a foreign language.”
The international experience she gained through Model Arab League was also a plus. Valerie spent the summer after her Converse graduation participating in the first ever Arab League exchange with the University of Cairo in Egypt where she studied Arabic culture and language. “My general advice for any college student is to study abroad and become fluent in a foreign language.”
As important as her politics major was to Valerie’s career preparation, she maintains that her music major was every bit as crucial in honing her career skills. “Music majors are diligent rehearsers, which taught me incredible time management skills very early on in college, which directly translate to my work habits today. In addition, as a singer, I shed any ounce of nervousness of performing in front of others at Converse. As someone who regularly gives speeches and training in her work, not being nervous in front of a crowd is a definite plus!”
After Converse, Valerie earned a Master’s in Public Administration at University of Georgia. Upon graduation, she was selected for the highly competitive Presidential Management Fellowship program. Presidential Management Fellows spend two years in a paid internship with a federal agency gaining experience in policymaking. Valerie’s PMF at the Center for Disease Control led to her current job as Strategic Response Team Lead.
“My team responds to Congressional inquiries regarding the CDC’s funding of global AIDS programs. We often respond to very high-level data requests and are given a short turn-around time to respond. It is very fast-paced and interesting, as the same question never gets asked twice!”
Today Valerie’s job takes her all over the world, but she says it all started with her study of music and politics at Converse. “I was given so many leadership opportunities at Converse. This truly prepared me for the real world as I knew how to lead a project, and I gained confidence in my leadership skills through my successes at Converse.”