Lumbee students explore careers in Diplomatic Security Service

·3 min read

Aug. 5—WASHINGTON, D.C. — High school students enrolled as members of the Lumbee Tribe explored careers in the Diplomatic Security Service industry during a recent visit to Washington D.C.

Students from the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina and the Catawba Nation in South Carolina sat in an armored vehicle, viewed demonstrations of security technical devices, and learned about careers with the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) during a day-long visit to DSS training headquarters in the Washington, D.C., metro area, on July 26.

Their visit was part of a Project 3C week-long residential summer camp program, "Discovering DC with Indigenous STEM." Project 3C is a federal grant awarded to the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina and funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Indian Education. It is designed to provide American Indian students with the experiences and skills necessary to broaden their college and career opportunities in the STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — field.

"Some of our best and brightest students are part of this program, and they must have completed an essay as well as obtain the recommendation of a teacher to participate—in most cases STEM-related — and one from an Indian Education staff member in order to participate," said Career Exploration coordinator Samantha Brayboy, Project 3C, University of North Carolina Pembroke.

"The purpose of our camp is to provide a basic introduction to STEM career opportunities and to Indigenous individuals who have made it to D.C. and have achieved a successful career with some of the largest companies and government agencies in the country — places that are normally outside of the student's comfort zone and the Lumbee Tribe's traditional territory," Brayboy said. "As American Indians, representation matters for us. The networking connections that these students will build, in addition to exploring careers and learning how other indigenous members overcame the similar obstacles that they face, will be absolutely life-changing."

Brayboy noted that Project 3C decided to reach out to DSS Diversity and Inclusion Officer Cassondra Searight, an enrolled member of the Lumbee tribe, about a possible tour after they learned she had recently joined DSS.

Searight arranged the day-long DSS visit, which showcased potential government careers in the fields of security engineering and technical security, as well as in diplomatic security and international law enforcement. The agenda also included sessions on resume building and interviewing skills.

"DSS is proud to have hosted these bright young students—and we hope many will consider a career with us at some point in the future," Searight said. "DSS seeks a new generation of young leaders to ensure we have a strong and diverse organization that reflects the diversity of our nation."

In addition to their visit to DSS, the students also explored STEM careers through day-long visits to Microsoft and Verizon in the Washington, D.C., area. They capped off the week with a tour of D.C. and a visit to the U.S. Capitol before returning to North Carolina.