Lambert is bridging technology and public service in the U.S. Digital Corps.
In today's rapidly evolving world, the intersection of technology and public service has become a critical arena for innovative minds to make a difference. CSU Global alumna Jamie Lambert ‘23 has embarked on a journey that perfectly encapsulates the fusion of these two realms. Inspired by her unwavering passion for public service and a desire to use her skills for more mission-oriented work, Jamie joined the U.S. Digital Corps, an initiative that leverages the power of early-career technologists to tackle pressing national issues. Her story is a testament to the potential of technology to transform the way the government serves its citizens.
What inspired you to pursue a fellowship with the U.S. Digital Corps?
My inspiration to join the U.S. Digital Corps stemmed from my passion for public service and wanting to bring my skills to more mission-oriented work. Having started my career in the military and customer experience, I was drawn to the idea of using technology for the greater good and helping people. The U.S. Digital Corps presented a unique opportunity to merge my passion for public service, product management, and customer experience with interest in public service.
The focus of the U.S. Digital Corps on early-career technologists who work every day to make a difference in critical impact areas deeply resonated with me. The chance to contribute to areas such as pandemic response, economic recovery, immigration, and equity was not just a job opportunity but a chance to transform how the government serves the American people. This alignment with my values and goals made joining the U.S. Digital Corps a natural choice.
Tell us about your military background and how you found CSU Global.
I come from a military household where values of service, ethics, and integrity were instilled at an early age. I began my military service in the Army National Guard, where I specialized in tactical communications for the headquarters of a Military Intelligence Unit. I served in the National Guard for over eight years. I was always drawn to the National Guard because it gave me the opportunity to serve and support my community in times of need, along with the opportunity to pursue my dreams in the civilian space as well.
This early experience exposed me to the power of technology in enhancing communication and services for people. I was seeking an educational institution that catered to non-traditional students like myself, providing flexibility to pursue my studies with online classes. CSU Global stood out as the perfect choice for me. It not only accommodated my schedule but also offered a robust Business and Management program that complimented my growing passion for technology, leadership, and business.
How do your projects align with the broader mission and priorities of the Administration for Children and Families?
As a U.S. Digital Corps Fellow working as a Product Manager within the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the unaccompanied children program, my role is deeply intertwined with the broader mission of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The ACF's mission revolves around improving the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities, particularly those most in need. My projects focus on improving the technology and services that aid in the safe unification of children with their families. This project aligns directly with ACF's mission of compassionate and effective delivery of human services priorities. By optimizing technology and service delivery within the program, we not only improve the lives of children, but we are also contributing to ACF's mission of supporting families and communities.
What are some of the future directions and opportunities you see for technology and project management in government agencies?
Now is an exciting time to come into government and especially product management. The future of government technology and product management is one that has endless possibilities.
- First, there's a growing emphasis on user-centric solutions and customer experience. Government agencies are recognizing the importance of delivering services that are not only functional but also easy to use and accessible to all. One example is an Executive Order President Biden signed in December 2021 about how agencies should work to deliver simple and secure customer experiences to the public, which has been a driving force for my work and that of many others.
- Government agencies are focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Technology and product management can play a crucial role in ensuring that government services are equitable and accessible to all citizens through practices like user research and agile interactive development.
I see implementation of these items daily. I think they will shape the future of government technology and public interest product management by creating solutions that are user-centric, technologically innovative, and inclusive.
What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a fellowship or career in government technology and innovation?
I have a few key pieces of advice, for those aspiring to start a career in government technology.
- First and foremost, as you consider your career goals overall, don’t limit yourself. If it's something that interests you, go for it! There are numerous ways to do so, including: recruiting, software development, DEIA, customer experience, project management, etc., the list goes on.
- Second, focus on building a strong foundation in technology and public interest and merge it with your existing skills to see how you can best serve. Stay curious and continuously expand your knowledge about emerging technologies, news, and use the numerous resources available online to fill in the gaps.
- Next, network! Talk to people, reach out to people on social media channels, attend meetings or conferences, both in person and virtual. Connect with professionals in the field and seek out mentors who can guide you on your journey. Building relationships with experienced individuals and people on your same path can be invaluable.
- Lastly, be adaptable. Government technology and job seeking landscapes can be complex. The ability to navigate and embrace new approaches is key. Embrace a growth mindset, and don't be afraid to take on challenges, as they arise.
The U.S Digital Corps has been a great opportunity for me, and I know applications are about to open for the next cohort that will begin in the summer of 2024, so anyone who might be interested should definitely check us out, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter)! Our broader umbrella organization, the Technology Transformation Services, also has a jobs page at join.tts.gsa.gov.