Friday, June 25, 2010

Week Five: A few words with Secretary Vilsack

Week Five
I am still buzzing from my opportunity to speak to Tom Vilsack this week during our USDA intern mixer this Tuesday. After being informed that interns who sit up front are much more likely to get a photo opportunity I arrived 45 min early to the event which was hosted in the Jefferson auditorium. Once I arrived and registered for the event I was allowed to sit directly behind Secretary Vilsack and the other USDA and government officials who attended the event. It was amazing to hear all the different presenters stories of the trials and tribulations they had faced before they finally arrived at their current career, and found that many of them, like myself, were late bloomers in the game of life but through P.R.I.D.E. (perseverance, resilience, innovation, determination or doughnuts :), endurance) have excelled to high levels in the USDA and government. It made me feel like there is still much hope to see success in my own life. After Vilsack finished speaking he allowed for four questions to be asked from the audience of 600+ people. My hand shot up like a rocket, and I had been jotting down possible questions I would ask during the meeting, and was ready to stand up and make my presence felt. The Secretary called on me first! I was almost speechless, but dug deep remembering that first impressions are sometimes your only impression that will be remembered. In the 3rd point of the presentation is food safety and providing this information to the world as one of the biggest focuses, how will you use new technologies to better assist the visually and hearing impaired? His answer took several minutes to complete and ended with him saying it was up to the new generation of tech influenced individuals to better serve these individuals. He then asked what I was doing next summer and if I would consider coming back to work for him! I was even more shocked when he stopped the questions briefly to have ME write my name, email address and attach my business card and hand it to him! I don’t know how I could ever thank him for making me feel so important, but maybe next summer I will find a way :)
Justin Patterson

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commenters must avoid profanity, harsh language and disparaging remarks on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability. All comments to the blog are moderated by AAPD, and can be subject to removal at any time.

Please use the comments section to engage in the ongoing dialogue between our program funders, current and former interns, our colleagues, and the broader disability community, and to respond to intern posts that intrigue you, to share your own stories, or to simply express your gratitude for being allowed into the world of our summer interns.