Presidential Management Fellow, Department of Veterans Affairs
Wilkes-Barre, Pa

Rody Damis ’13

“For me,” says Rody Damis, a J.D./MBA graduate of the Law School, the job search “was a process. I went about it as if I was the only person who could find myself a job – not the networks, not the school. I had to make sure I had the right networks and was doing the right things. Anything that attorneys told me would make me more marketable, I would do it.”

And he did the legwork. “I made sure to apply for every single program, no matter how difficult it seemed to be,” Damis says. That included the Presidential Management Fellowships, the federal government’s program to train and develop its next generation of leaders. After Damis got an email from the Career Services Office about the program, he researched it and applied – a process that included three essays, a video assessment and an application, then a daylong in-person assessment that included a group exercise, a mock news conference and personal interviews. Twelve thousand people applied; 300, including Damis, were chosen.

The program rotates fellows through various federal agencies. Damis currently is at the VA medical center in eastern Pennsylvania, drafting and negotiating contracts with vendors to, he says, “make sure the government gets what it paid for.”

“I’m not sure where I’ll end up after my two years are done,” he says. “I love working for the government. But they’re really up on leadership development, and the fellowship itself also makes you pretty marketable.”