Darius Michael successfully completed the Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship in 2022 while earning a graduate degree in Cyber Intelligence and Security from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. His first post in the Foreign Service is the U.S. Embassy Amman, Jordan. Since this interview, the Information Management Specialist (IMS) role has evolved into the Diplomatic Technology Officer (DTO) role.

What inspired you to pursue the FAIT Fellowship program?

I learned about the FAIT Fellowship program during my transition from the Navy. I was trying to decide whether I would pursue a graduate degree or actively pursue further employment. The FAIT Fellowship had both of what I was looking for in terms of an option to complete my graduate degree and have an I.T. job ready for me when I successfully complete the fellowship program.

What advice do you have for individuals working on their application or preparing for the application process? 

The application is quite lengthy so I would say, if you’re interested in applying, start working on the writing portion early on. Review your different application documents and get others to review them to help you make improvements if you are able.  I’d say to definitely start early on your application.

What was a typical week like in your first summer domestic internship in Washington, DC? What did you value the most?

My first summer internship in DC was virtual because it happened during the pandemic. But I did value the effort that was made by the SOP team to make me feel welcome and to give me the closest experience to being an intern virtually. There were hurdles for security reasons and having to work remotely but it was a wonderful experience.  Everyone made me feel included and they were willing to bring me into the meetings, show me what they did, and give me the opportunity to help out as much as I can.

Where was your overseas internship and can you share your most memorable experience?

My overseas internship was in Bangkok, Thailand, and it was a remarkable experience. I got the   chance to work with another fellow, so we were lucky we had two FAIT fellows during that internship. But working at the IPC [Information Program Center] was an eye-opening experience. Being able to see what an IMS is going to be doing throughout their career, as well as meeting other people from the Department of State. I also enjoyed being able to explore when we were not at work. We had many opportunities to take trips and enjoy being an intern as well as learning about Thailand.

Thinking about your experiences over the past two years, can you describe how FAIT Fellowship has affected your life personally and professionally?

The Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity. It has allowed me to pursue my interests and a career with the Foreign Service, which is something that I have always wanted to do. It has also allowed me to be part of a team that’s highly recognized in the State Department right now in terms of accomplishment. I’ve met the other fellows, and everyone seems to come from a very good background. I feel fortunate to be part of that group of individuals.

Where is your first post in the Foreign Service and how do you feel about it?

My first post is going to be at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan. It was one of my top picks so I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve heard lots of great things about working at the embassy and I’m looking forward to exploring Jordan as much as I can. This is going to be a two-year tour, not a three-year, and it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to be in that region.

What are you looking forward to most as you embark on your first assignment and start your career with the Department of State?

First and foremost, I’m looking forward to getting to post and learning my job as a [Diplomatic Technology Officer]. I also look forward to learning the life as a diplomat overseas, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures.

Do you have any closing word of advice for those who are thinking about applying?

Just give yourself enough time to complete the application.

Photo: American Embassy in Amman by Maureen, licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic.