When Dr. Conrad Estrada became an APHIS Foreign Service Officer (FSO), his goal was to get out of his comfort zone, “not only in the geographic sense, but also on a personal and professional level.”
Six years later, the veterinarian admits he got both wishes. Trained in Peru, Estrada earned his master’s degree in preventive veterinary medicine at the University of California-Davis before joining the APHIS Foreign Service in 2009. He is now the APHIS Foreign Service (FS) area director in Brasilia, Brazil, a job that “has offered me a great opportunity to expand my horizons, as well as increase my understanding of an integrated agricultural global market.”
“Living overseas while protecting U.S. agriculture and expanding new markets abroad, I’ve learned that nothing is static – there’s a flow and we can do two things: go with it or we can be part of directing and influencing that flow,” he said.
Separated by 4,900 nautical miles but joined at the hip by the same dynamic mission on behalf of U.S. agriculture, Russell Duncan is the APHIS FS area director in Pretoria, South Africa. The Maryland native earned his undergraduate degree at Howard University and a master’s of science in plant biology from Rutgers University. He is on his third foreign posting, having previously served APHIS in the Caribbean and in Europe.
“From working with USAID to increase food security in fragile societies of the world, to working to combat the spread of insects in imported fruits or the U.S. military’s fight against wildlife poaching in Africa, it is indeed an exciting and rewarding career for someone who wants to be a leader in their area of expertise and have a larger impact on American agriculture,” Duncan said on a recent trip to Benin.
And now there’s a new training route available for a diverse pool of candidates holding technical degrees in the animal and plant health sciences. Especially those with some limited international experience, some work experience, and some foreign language fluency.
Requirements for this training program include a Bachelor’s Degree or higher in a relevant scientific or technical field. Relevant fields include: biology, veterinary medicine, chemistry, agriculture, entomology or other related fields. Recruitment will be open to all U.S. candidates from all sources.
“By developing relationships with key organizations, stakeholders and governments overseas, APHIS FSOs are able to work on the forefront of many agricultural issues,” said Californian Darya Chehrezad, APHIS FS Assistant Regional Manager for the Asia – Pacific Region. And, “after nearly 20 years with APHIS, I can honestly say that APHIS provided the dynamic global career I was looking for.”
For more information about how you can join Conrad Estrada, Russell Duncan and Darya Chehrezad in the APHIS Foreign Service, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2015/sa_foreign_service_training.pdf
Or log onto USAJobs and complete your application by 11:59 pm est., March 23, 2015: www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/396675100