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I’ve Got Your Back – Leading the Right Way

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Aisha Hasan, Policy Analyst, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Achievement: Next Gen Public Service Award, Exemplary Leadership Category

“I am very sure that Aisha Hasan’s public service experience extends into her preschool years. The hard work that Aisha put towards her college internship positions allowed her to be selected as the University of Maryland’s first Federal Service Student Ambassador (FSSA). Aisha is the type of leader who achieves a goal and is immediately ready to set and pursue the next one. Leaders exist in many sectors of government; however, there are those select few who go above and beyond to direct their talents and skills toward success on an everyday basis. Those people are who I see defining exemplary leadership and Aisha Hasan far surpasses the regular leader.” – Desmond Proctor, Deputy US Marshal. Proctor nominated Hasan for the Exemplary Leadership Award.

Hasan’s focus on government started when she was in college at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). She served as a policy intern in the Office of the Maryland Governor in 2009, in two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offices in 2010, and in the Office of the Vice President within the Executive Office of the President in 2011.

For her dedication and passion, Hasan was chosen as UMD’s first Partnership for Public Service Federal Service Student Ambassador as she joined 47 undergraduate and graduate students, nationwide, in the mentorship and advisement of students in their respective universities and colleges. Aisha advised over 2,150 students in the UMD community during her ambassadorship tenure, and she continues to work with the Partnership for Public Service to assist current ambassadors with their work

“I feel privileged to have been selected as an ambassador within this cohort. I learned from some truly brilliant and humble public service leaders who taught me about effective leadership, using different perspectives to find solutions for issues, and how to be an early adaptor.” said Hasan.

“My ambassadorship helped me on many levels because I learned how to converse and strategize with senior officials in the government, non-profit, and university levels. Under the guidance of these senior officials, I spearheaded UMD’s efforts to strategically increase public service awareness and work opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Being able to develop and implement programs, policies, and initiatives that reached this goal, and motivating students to explore public service, served as phenomenal experiences for me because of my firm belief in public service.

After graduating college in 2011, Hasan obtained full-time employment as an analyst in the HHS Office of the Secretary, and she has worked as a policy analyst in the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the President, too. Her career choice didn’t surprise her. “My parents have always instilled the notion, through their life examples, of being altruistic and helping others. I became really interested in federal policies because of the ability for policies to positively, and simultaneously, affect the lives of millions.”

Hasan also serves as the president of the Young Government Leaders, Bethesda Chapter, and founding president of UMD’s Federal Semester Alumni Association. Her involvement in these organizations stems from her love of public service. “I love being able to come to work every morning and know that I’m helping to develop, influence, and implement policies that are significantly helping the lives of so many folks. I have a particular interest in healthy policy and safety because without health and safety, folks cannot excel in other facts of life. So, it made perfect sense for me to work at HHS on these issues. Working for the federal government is a remarkable feeling, and I can foresee myself doing this type of work for a long time.”

Her dedication and drive does a lot to dispel the rumor that millennials are lazy and addicted to their phones.

“There is a perception that younger folks are lazy and not passionate. But, there are numerous young government employees, contractors, fellows, interns, and others that are innovating, forming government policies, protocols, programs, and initiatives each and every day that benefit millions of Americans and folks outside of our country. As young government employees, we’re passionate about serving the public, doing essential work, and helping others. We work hard at what we do to ensure the safety and improve the livelihood of the public, and we’re team players because, regardless of where you work, collaboration is the key to success. I strive to reach that ideal each and every day.”

Hasan notes that this misconception resides among government employees, in general, too.

“I actually ran into this misconception when I was at a pivotal juncture in my college tenure where I was deciding if I wanted to go into the public sector or the private sector. I heard so many narratives about how unmotivated the government workforce is, but, through classes and various internships, I saw, on a first-hand basis, that this notion is incredibly false. Government employees work day-in and day-out to improve the lives of the public we serve to help. It’s a noble profession, and, when I speak with young folks, as an alumni, I sincerely encourage them to explore the public sector when they are contemplating internships and career options.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list here. And register for NextGen!

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Aisha Hasan

Thanks so much for pulling together this lovely article, Emily! I’m very honored to be a finalist for this prestigious award!