College of Arts and Sciences, USF

Student Success

USF alumnus making an impact in The White House
By Justin McFatridge

University of South Florida alumnus Ryan Metcalf has made a name for himself in the world of public policy. He currently works as a senior correspondent analyst in the Office of Presidential Correspondence for the Executive Office of the President in the White House. Metcalf’s position requires a wide-range of duties, including the production of the President’s 10 daily letters from the American people; directing the President’s request for federal agency assistance in response to constituent correspondence; drafting, editing and producing the President’s messages, proclamations, greetings and personal notes; and managing and developing correspondence to millions of constituent letters.

“Working for the White House is similar to working for any other organization in terms of administrative duties,” Metcalf said. “It requires coordination among many different offices, personalities and interests. The challenge can be figuring out who is who and who needs to know what. Many people think the White House is a very intimate and small niche group of people when in fact it involves many people from many different offices involved in every aspect of supporting the president.”

Originally from Lakeland, Fla., Metcalf attended USF from 2005 to 2009 and graduated with a degree in political science. While at USF, he had the opportunity to participate in the Public Policy Internship Program. Metcalf was part of the Tallahassee Internship Program (TIP), where he spent a 60-day period working in the office of Florida State Senator Athenia Joyner. His experience allowed him to work hands-on within the Florida legislative process, where he was able to perform tasks that helped prepare him for a future in politics.

Metcalf said he found the internship experience quite beneficial in preparing him for his career.

“It certainly prepared me for constituent services which are the entry level and most common positions when working for an elected official on any level of government,” Metcalf said. “I was also forced to develop thick skin, which in turn helped me deal with difficult people and situations; whether that is your boss or a constituent. I also learned more about what I don’t want to do more so than what I do want to do, which is a fluid process for me.”

The experience and training gained through participating in the TIP has proven to be valuable to Metcalf in obtaining a career in politics. Both current and prospective students are encouraged to seek out opportunities to obtain the necessary skills to perform successfully in their desired career.

This video gives a glimpse of what Ryan's office does for the president.



USF alumnus serves Tampa Bay community
By Justin McFatridge

University of South Florida alumnus Braulio Colón has and continues to impact the field of public policy in Tampa, Fla. Using the experience he gained as a participant in Public Policy Internship Program, Colón maintains an active role in the field. Colón is the director of the Florida College Access Network, an institution that strives to promote underprivileged students, first generation college students and under-represented students with exposure, preparation and success for college.

Colóns’ duties as director include leading a network of multiple entities that share the goal of increasing college-readiness, access and success; engaging in public policy research community events, advocacy efforts, and provide technical assistance for development and program development; network management; resource development; knowledge development in dissemination; and resource sustainability.  

Originally from Orlando, Fla., Colón attended USF from 1999-2003 and graduated with degrees in mass communications and Africana studies. During his time at USF, Colón participated in the Public Policy Internship Program. Colón took part in the Legislative Internship Program (LIP), which enabled him to work nine hours a week for an entire semester in the office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. His experience allowed him to take part in activities centered upon the clerical work associated with public policy and be exposed to an environment filled with members who occupied positions in this field.

Colón described the benefit of this experience using these keywords--exposure, demystified and levels of government.

“The internship program allows you to gain exposure to leaders in the field, engage communities that have an interest in policy, and learn about the policy development process,” Colón said. “The internship demystified the perception of the inability to achieve this career status or develop relationships with figures in the field of policy. It also allows you to have conversations on the levels of government with other who have experienced different environments, which helps students gain perspective on the level. You can never underestimate the value of hands-on work.”

The experience and training gained through participating in the LIP has proven to be valuable to Colón in obtaining a career in public policy. Both current and prospective students are encouraged to seek out opportunities to obtain the necessary skills to perform successfully in their desired career.

“Just do it,” Colón said. It doesn’t necessarily give you a job after college, but it provides you with a credential that can set you apart from you peers.”