Paul A. Volcker Careers in Government Essay Contest

Calling all future leaders in the CUNY Class of 2021! If you are a City University of New York (CUNY) student graduating from a bachelor's program in 2021, participate in the first annual Paul A. Volcker Careers in Government Essay Contest. The Volcker Alliance is hosting this contest in partnership with CUNY to recognize students who aspire to pursue careers in public service.

RSVP for an information session to learn more!

  1. Contest Details
  2. Prizes
  3. How to Enter
  4. Information Sessions
  5. Important Dates
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Contact us

Tell us about your public service career aspirations!

A central goal of the Paul A. Volcker Careers in Government Essay Contest is to better understand what motivates students to opt for a career in government. We also aim to raise student awareness about the opportunities that come with a career in public service, including mission, impact, job security and pathways for career advancement.

Contest entrants must answer the following three essay questions (the response to each question may not exceed 500 words):

  • What does public service mean to you, and what inspires you to pursue a career in public service?
  • Please describe what effective government looks like.
  • How would a career in public service allow you to have a meaningful impact on the issues that mean the most to you?

We will be looking for entries that are well organized, thoughtfully composed, and that present a compelling narrative about the values that drive your career aspirations. We want to understand how you are thinking about your potential contribution following graduation. We want you to describe your vision of the public sector leader you hope to become.

^ Back to top

Prizes

^ Back to top

How to Enter

All entries must be received no later than November 3, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time—no exceptions.

To enter the Paul A. Volcker Careers in Government Essay Contest, click the button below or type volckeressay2019.awardsplatform.com into your web browser and register for an account. The contest is now open for submissions.

ENTER HERE!

^ Back to top

Come to an information session to meet our team and learn more about the contest!

We will be hosting three information sessions to provide details about the competition and discuss the potential and imperative of a career in public service:

Sign up for an information session!

Each session will feature speakers who will reflect on their experiences working in public service and share some of their most compelling accomplishments.

We will serve food at all information sessions! Although attendance isn’t required to enter the contest, we encourage you to join us to learn more about this exceptional opportunity and engage with our impressive guest speakers about the potential and promise of a public service career. Our guest speakers will include government practioners who have worked as mayors, city councilors, and commissioners for the local Department of Correction and the Department of Buildings.

^ Back to top

Important Dates

  • September 9: Contest opens
  • September 17:  Information session at Queens College, Patio Room at 3 p.m.
  • September 26:  Information session at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Room 1302 at 5 p.m.
  • October 4: Information session at Lehman College at 3 p.m., Room TBA
  • November 3: Submission deadline at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time
  • November 26: Finalists selected
  • December 2–4: Finalist interviews
  • Early December: Winners notified
  • December 12: Celebratory award breakfast

If you have any questions, email us at essay@volckeralliance.org

^ Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is Paul A. Volcker?
  2. Why are we hosting this essay contest?
  3. Who’s eligible to enter?
  4. What is the prize for the essay contest winners?
  5. Should I attend an information session?
  6. How do I enter the contest?
  7. What are the characteristics of a strong essay submission?
  8. When will the finalists and winners be announced?

^ Back to top

Q: Who is Paul A. Volcker?

A: Paul Volcker worked for the federal government for almost thirty years as undersecretary of the Treasury for monetary affairs, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Board. Throughout his career, he worked alongside presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Obama, and many of the world’s other leading politicians, bankers, and financiers to provide wisdom, leadership, and a steady hand during many of the most severe financial and ethical crises experienced in this country over the past seventy years. While Mr. Volcker has been widely recognized for profoundly shaping economic policy in the United States and around the world, his greatest life mission and his motivation for founding the Volcker Alliance in 2013 is to restore American trust in government and cultivate a vital, prepared public service. Mr. Volcker has an unwavering commitment to effective government and embodies dedication and excellence in public service.

^ Back to questions

Q: Why are we hosting this essay contest?

A: The Volcker Alliance is hosting this contest in partnership with CUNY to raise student awareness about the opportunities of a career in public service, including mission, impact, job security and pathways for career advancement. At the same time, we aim to better understand what motivates students to opt for a career in government, offer modest financial support to ease students’ transition into the public workforce, engage students in paid internships, and link them to active practitioners for ongoing guidance and professional mentorship.

^ Back to questions

Q: Who’s eligible to enter?

A: All CUNY students graduating from a bachelor's program in 2021 are eligible and encouraged to enter.

^ Back to questions

Q: What is the prize for the essay contest winners?

A: There will be two contest winners and each will receive:

  • A $5,000 cash prize;
  • Priority placement in a year-long paid internship with a local government agency;
  • A monthly MetroCard for the duration of the internship;
  • An expense-paid trip to a public service-related conference of the student’s choosing; and
  • Recognition at a celebratory award breakfast on December 12, 2019.

^ Back to questions

Q: Should I attend an information session?

A: Yes! In addition to providing information about the contest, each information session will feature a guest speaker who has dedicated a portion of his or her career to public service. Speakers will field any questions you might have about working in the public sector, discuss the benefits of a career in public service, and talk about how they landed in their current professions. Also, we will serve food and light refreshments. Attendance isn’t required but highly encouraged.

Sign up for an information session here.

^ Back to questions

Q: How do I enter the contest?

  1. Click ENTER HERE! or type volckeressay2019.awardsplatform.com into your web browser and register for an account. (You will not be able to register until September 9, 2019.)
  1. Fill out all the questions under the “Personal Information” tab and click “Save + Next.” 
  1. Complete the three essay questions, making sure to limit each of your answers to 500 words per essay. You will be able to save and return to your entry until the submission period ends on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. 
  1. When all the information you entered is correct and you have finalized your written answers, click “Submit Entry”. 
  1. You will receive an email confirming that your submission was received. If you advance to the finalist round, we will contact you to schedule an interview with the selection committee on December 2, 3, or 4. 

^ Back to questions

Q: What are the characteristics of a strong essay submission?

A:  Strong essays will:

  • Demonstrate genuine interest in a public service career;
  • Convey a compelling vision of what effective government looks like and why it matters;
  • Respond directly to the questions posed; and
  • Be presented clearly, cleanly and with attention to proper grammar and spelling.

^ Back to questions

Q: When will the finalists and winners be announced?

A: Finalists will be interviewed by the selection committee on December 2–4. Winners will be notified in early December, and a celebratory award breakfast will be held on Thursday, December 12, 2019.

^ Back to questions

^ Back to top