The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Panelists discuss careers in government

While many industries are hiring less due to the economic recession, there is a sector that is seeing an increase in hiring: government.

Students gathered in the Hughes-Trigg forum Wednesday evening to learn about careers in government from a panel of seven government employees.

The panel included representatives from national and city governments and had a green twist, as all but two panelists worked with the environment in some way.

Panelist Karen Woodard, who works for the City of Dallas as an urban forester, said working in government is “rewarding.”

“It’s worse than any retail job you’ve ever had,” she joked, “But it’s rewarding.”

Woodard said she enjoys working for the City of Dallas because her job makes a difference.

Lori Trulson also wanted to make a difference in her career.

Trulson is an SMU graduate with a degree in geology. She said she first started as a consultant in the private sector, but later took a job with the City of Dallas.

Trulson said she left the private sector when she decided she wanted to help others. She said working for the city, as opposed to a non-profit organization, allowed her to make a difference while still making a good living, she said.

Linda Reeder, from the National Labor Relations Board, also said her government job pays well and offers outstanding benefits.

“The Federal government has a lot of family-friendly policies,” she said.

Reeder, a lawyer, works with unions and other labor groups. She said most lawyers come in early and stay late, but her job allows her to work on a more 9 to 5 schedule, although it varies.

Trulson emphasized that government jobs are more stable than their counterparts in the private sector. She advised students who want to work for a city to network with current employees, saying they may be able to help find an empty position.

Woodard emphasized having a well-rounded education, as opposed to a niche area.

She explained how many traditional foresters who work with loggers and paper product manufacturers are out of jobs because paper is being imported into the U.S. Meanwhile, Woodard is able to work for the city because she went beyond the traditional forester curriculum.

Government jobs are available for any major, according to Freddie Ortiz, an environmental coordinator with the City of Dallas. “We can fit you in,” he said.

Yolanda Nixon, a human resources specialist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agreed, although she noted that some jobs require a specific degree.

SMU student Ijeoma Ibeh found the panel interesting and helpful. “It was very beneficial,” she said.

Senior Jonathan Massegee also found the panel helpful and informative. Massegee has a secure job at the moment, but says his “doors are open” to any other jobs, which is why he went to the panel.

All of the panelists noted that the government sector is still hiring, even after the economy’s downturn.

M’Lisa Wilson from the Internal Revenue Service pointed out that the recession and stimulus legislation have actually led to a large increase in hiring by the IRS. Nixon also noted that the EPA had hired more than they thought they would be able to.

Students looking for government jobs can look at and local and state government Web sites. SMU also has government job postings on MustangTRAK.

Wilson said she only expected to stay at the IRS for a year before embarking on her acting career. She never left, finding that she enjoyed her work.

“There’s opportunity for growth and the potential to do what you want to do,” she said.

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