Finding success in the federal sector
While a student at Wheaton, Margaret “Meg” Offit Gold ’85 was tasked with serving as a tour guide for visiting scholar and Foreign Service officer Curtis Cutter.
The history major did not know it then, but their meeting would spark a chain of events that propelled Gold into a successful career in the federal government.
“While spending the day with [Curtis Cutter], he asked me, ‘What are you going to do when you graduate?’ and I told him, thinking that it was a longshot, that I would like to have an internship with a United Nations agency,” Gold recalled.
Fortunately for her, Cutter got in touch with Gold about a six-month internship at the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, in Geneva. She seized the opportunity, and “in many ways, it changed my life,” she said.
Gold—now a senior program analyst at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—has worked both overseas and domestically for various federal agencies. Both during college and in the professional world, she steadfastly pursued opportunities to further her career.
“I, 100 percent, took advantage of my liberal arts degree at Wheaton,” Gold said, adding that while a student she participated in study abroad programs in Kenya, South Africa and England—and even played field hockey on the women’s team.
She recalled “incredible thought-provoking and eye-opening interactions” with her professors—including Professor of Political Science Jay Goodman, Professor of History Alex Bloom, Professor of Economics John Miller and Professor of Political Science Jerry Murphy—and her adviser (John Burton, professor of anthropology).
Gold went on to work in international development consulting and later earned a master’s degree in international relations at Johns Hopkins in Washington, D.C. As a student, she received a Presidential Management Internship, which allowed her to intern in various federal positions, including at the U.S Department of Agriculture and even at the White House.
“I worked in the White House Office of Media Affairs for both presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It was fantastically rewarding,” she said.
She began her federal career at the USDA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 2007, she joined the NRC, the federal agency that licenses and regulates the civilian use of radioactive materials while protecting people and the environment. As a senior policy analyst, her work focuses on analyzing data and managing reporting of the agency’s acquisitions.
“I urge graduates to consider a career with the federal government. Wherever your path takes you, and in whichever agency you land, you will be well-positioned to make a difference and meet many people committed to working together toward this goal,” she said.
Gold also actively volunteers, serving on the board of the Hadassah Foundation (which invests in social change to empower girls) and working with an ice hockey club for athletes with developmental disabilities—tapping into skills developed as a field hockey player at Wheaton.
A liberal arts degree prepared her well for government and volunteer work, she said. “Every experience at Wheaton shaped who I am today,” said Gold.