Augustus Vogel

boren profiles

Augustus Vogel

2000 Boren Fellowships

University of Southern California

Spanish, Mexico

STEM

As a PhD student focusing on marine fisheries in Southern California, studying Spanish in Mexico was a natural choice to advance my academic interests. My award was based on the idea that natural resource management, which in this case would be fisheries, has national security implications. I worked with Mexican scientists to collect and analyze one of the fish species that occurs both in the U.S. and Mexico, in order to understand their population dynamics and to interpret the exploitation of fisheries through the lens of international relations. 

As a PhD student focusing on marine fisheries in Southern California, studying Spanish in Mexico was a natural choice to advance my academic interests. My award was based on the idea that natural resource management, which in this case would be fisheries, has national security implications. I worked with Mexican scientists to collect and analyze one of the fish species that occurs both in the U.S. and Mexico, in order to understand their population dynamics and to interpret the exploitation of fisheries through the lens of international relations. 

I currently work for the U.S. Office of Naval Research in São Paulo, Brazil (having just left Santiago, Chile after a three year tour), as a program manager for scientific research projects in Latin America and Africa. I identify and fund scientists to perform research that is of interest to the U.S. Navy, such as projects in oceanography, nanotechnology, and human-robot communication. Without the Spanish and national security experience I gained through Boren, I would not have been able to secure this job (which started in Santiago). Being fluent in Spanish also has definitely helped me to do my job well. My language and cultural understanding has helped me to be an informed listener, which is critical for developing local trust in my projects and intentions.

Being a Boren alumnus may turn you into a bit of an oddball job candidate. You will have a fairly unique skill set and government job descriptions are often fairly generic (skills in financial management, program management, team management, strategic planning, etc.). A job may not explicitly advertise for unique language or cultural skills, or information related to your research. Yet, you will often be the only one in the room with your skills, and if you can land in an office that recognizes that, you will find yourself to be an important contributor to new and innovative programs. This can give you access to interesting projects and leadership opportunities that others don't really have. Overall, my experience as a Boren Fellow was very positive, and it has taken me in directions I never imagined.

Written: January 2014

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