On the first day of Recardo Gibson’s (LAS ’02) first post-college internship, he walked into the White House with an official press pass—not a bad start.
“I worked for an online news agency, and at the time, the Internet was still coming into its own,” says Gibson, now public affairs officer for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). “It was a small shop, and I held more responsibility than a lot of interns. At 23, I was at the White House every day.”
Gibson didn’t stay an intern for long. He went on to become the online manager for then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and for current presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was serving as a U.S. senator at the time. In each position, Gibson learned about journalism and working with reporters. He caught glimpses of life as a public servant and became increasingly convinced it was his calling. He enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., where he received a Master of Arts in Government. While still in school, he repeatedly applied to the State Department, but each attempt was met with rejection. After three years, Gibson’s persistence was finally rewarded.
“Sometimes I felt like I would never get to the State Department, but I always tried one more time,” he says. “When it did happen, it felt even better because I’d worked that hard for it.”
His current role combines his earlier experiences. Gibson acts as a liaison between the INL and the media on all issues concerning the bureau’s efforts to combat international drug use, production and smuggling. In the long term, Gibson hopes to one day act as a U.S. ambassador. For now, he volunteers on the African Affairs Committee of the United Nations Association, and he’s a member of DePaul’s Washington, D.C., Alumni Chapter. He enjoys helping new alumni navigate D.C.’s demanding lifestyle.
“College was the first time I was fully enveloped in service and volunteerism,” he says. “It helped foster that passion, and that has served me well.”
“When you’re watching the news or reading the paper and they say, ‘According to a government official …,’ that’s usually me. I give the U.S. government’s perspective on relevant situations that the press reports on.”