Andrew Swab

Andrew Swab

'12 BA (IR)

Graduate Student
Harvard Kennedy School

 


Only six years after graduating from the Maxwell School, Andrew Swab can already report exciting career stops at the U.S. Department of State and the PBS Newshour. Recently, he decided to attend Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he is a candidate for a master’s in public policy, focusing on international and global affairs.

Swab joined the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which works to counter threats to diplomatic posts abroad, in September 2014. Over the course of nearly three years at State, Swab worked on nearly 150 security-policy briefing-reports, which were then given to ambassadors or deputy chiefs of mission. He also worked on issues concerning European and Eurasian security staffing, as well as the State Department’s five-year, $26.2 billion Worldwide Protective Services program, which involved security contracting at high-threat posts. Swab also worked on a series of policy coordination projects, under division-wide leadership of Division Chief Michael Scherger ’07 MPA. A highlight was working with a Diplomatic Security special agent team on a Post Security Program Review at the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica.

At Maxwell, Swab’s aspirations evolved during a senior-year, seminar-style Honors class, America and the World, taught by University Professor James Steinberg, a former Deputy Secretary of State. The class served as a crash course in national security and diplomacy, and culminated with a visit by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “That class left a deep impression on me,” Swab says. He then began to think seriously about a career in public service.

Swab says he owes his opportunity at the State Department job not just to the education he gained at Maxwell but also to many people who have helped him. “Dean Steinberg, Professor Francine D’Amico, other professors, and alumni helped me every step of the way and have really paid it forward to me,” Swab says. The same was true when Swab landed the job at State. Scherger, Swab says, “wears his Maxwell lanyard with pride.” Tapping into the Maxwell network, Scherger learned of Swab’s special exposure to the State Department and made the hire. “He has been a great mentor,” Swab says. “He is very committed to public service.”

During his time at the State Department, Swab learned it takes a network to get where you want to go — and you need to give as well as you get. “It’s all about opening a door for others,” Swab says. “So many people have done it for me, and all I hope is to do it for others.”

Prior to the State Department, Swab, who also earned a journalism degree while at Syracuse, worked as a broadcast desk assistant for the PBS NewsHour. As a part of the national and foreign affairs teams, he interviewed everyone from former U.S. ambassadors to New York Times best-selling authors. He also wrote articles for PBS’s website and helped in producing segments. Immediately after Syracuse University, he also interned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, at the Washington, D.C. office, where Maxwell operations in the capital are based.

While getting his Syracuse degree, Swab interned at the U.S. House of Representatives, studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing, wrote for the college newspaper, and served in student government.

Swab welcomes emails from IR undergraduates or Maxwell School graduate alumni in the Boston area, specifically in the public sector consulting space; you can reach him at andrew.swab@gmail.com.