Erin Moran successfully completed the Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship in 2022 while earning an undergraduate degree in Information Technology from Pace University in New York City, New York. Her first post in the Foreign Service is the U.S. Consulate Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 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 was inspired to pursue the FAIT Fellowship program because I was studying abroad in Prague. There was a diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Prague that reached out to me and gave me a tour of the embassy. I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life, but I didn’t want to switch my major. So, I asked him if there were any opportunities for people who are studying IT and he said yes! Then he told me about the FAIT Fellowship program, and I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

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

The advice that I would give individuals who are working on their application is to know the Foreign Service Dimensions. They’re going to be very important because the selection panel will be selecting candidates who embody the dimensions.

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

For my first domestic internship in Washington D.C. there was no typical week. I didn’t get to go to D.C. because of the pandemic, so the internship was done online.  I was able to work on a variety of projects. For one project, I worked with an intern in the State Department’s Virtual Student Federal Service internship program. We created a video that introduces Go Virtual Desktop to new hires. We created the script and edited the video together.

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

My overseas internship was in Bangkok, Thailand. I would say that my most memorable experience was preparing for the Secretary of State visit. The IMO [Information Management Officer] and I went to the hotel where the Secretary of State was staying, and we got to meet the IRM [Information Resource Management] team that travels with him. It was interesting to see all the work that goes into a VIP visit.

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

The FAIT Fellowship affected my personal life tremendously. Before I received the fellowship, I was working three part-time jobs just to sustain myself and to pay for full-time student tuition. The FAIT Fellowship allowed me to pursue selfish, passionate goals I had in my personal life by allowing me to spend time with my family, fully focus on my academics, join organizations in my school/community, and the opportunity to study abroad. Professionally, it affected me by allowing me to focus on IT full time and by providing me with a network of lifelong professional connections.

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

My first post as a [Diplomatic Technology Officer] in the Foreign Service is in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I’m excited to go back to Asia because when I was in Thailand, I felt like I did not have enough time to explore the culture and now I have two years to explore the culture.

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

My advice for those who are thinking about applying for the FAIT Fellowship is stop thinking about it and just do it and apply. You won’t regret it.