Katie Hamer '04
Katie Hamer, a Political Science major, graduated in 2004. After
graduating from Marist, Katie earned a Master’s Degree in Public
Policy from Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy.
Katie secured employment as an analyst for the U.S. Government
Accountability Office in 2007, and was promoted to a senior analyst
position in 2010. Katie’s portfolio of government programs includes
telecommunications, transit, highways, public security, and other
infrastructure policies. The picture at left dates from Katie's time doing
audit work in Afghanistan.
Q: What kind of work do you do in your current position?
I'm a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a
nonpartisan legislative agency that investigates how taxpayer dollars
are spent by the government at the request of Congressional committees.
Small teams of GAO analysts investigate federal programs through a range of research methods including interviewing government
and industry officials, document reviews and audits, surveys and focus groups, and (in some cases) undercover testing! Our investigations result in publicly available reports that usually include recommendations for how agencies can improve their performance. I've worked on a lot of different types of programs since I started at GAO in 2007, including physical security at
federal buildings, war-time contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and highway safety.
Aside from the benefits of being able to change topic areas and try something new every 10 months or so, I have really loved being able to see how government agencies work, and hopefully improve them!
Q: Which aspects of your Marist experience have proven most useful to your professional life?
My time at Marist really helped to prepare me both for graduate school and for the work I'm doing now. My classes--and
professors--at Marist really helped me learn how to think about public policy and how to identify the small changes that can really make a program work, or not. After grad school, where some of my professors had a single office hour every week, I really appreciated the amount of time Marist professors have for their students and the knowledge many of them have from having real-world work experience in government and policy.
Q: What advice would you have for students just starting out on their college careers?
Take advantage of your professors! I didn't even know public policy was a thing, until I took Intro to Public Policy with Dr. Eckert,
so picking classes that sound interesting to you (rather than just fulfilling a requirement) and talking to your professors can really help in figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life (or what you DON'T want to do).