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Burnsville High School alumna discusses career as diplomat

Burnsville High School alumna Becky (Girtz) Keily visited the Burnsville High School Career Center on Thursday, Oct. 6 to discuss her career as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy Praia in Cape Verde, West Africa.

Keily talks to students about her career as a diplomat in Cape Verde, West Africa.

The Career Center is a great place for students to learn about different college and career opportunities. 

The Career Center brings in lots of people to share information about their careers so students realize what possibilities they might want to explore for their futures.  

Keily is a 1976 BHS graduate and a former “Bravette,” and she has worked at the state department for nearly nine years.

In her presentation to students, Keily discussed what led her to landing a job with the state department and her responsibilities as an assistant to the U.S. Ambassador. Part of a program called "Diplomat in Residence," she speaks to students about what she does, what it means to serve her country and how students can apply for this kind of career.

Initially, Keily did not pursue a post-secondary education. At that time, “college was out of the picture for many women,” she commented. After 20 years of marriage and raising three kids, she finally decided it was time to go back to school and get her college degree. It took her six years to reach her goal.

Upon attending a job fair featuring a U.S. ambassador, Keily applied to the foreign service, envisioning how fun it would be to travel the world and encounter all kinds of people. Little did she know that only two percent of those who applied for foreign service at that time actually got accepted! She landed a job with the state department.

While talking with students about her travels and experiences in places like Germany, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Liberia – where she served for four months during the Ebola crisis – Keily stressed the importance of attending college and not taking education for granted.

“Your education is a springboard for other opportunities,” she said. This certainly rings true for Keily who lives on the island nation of Cape Verde and assists the U.S. Ambassador in developing agricultural, educational and democratic programs for its citizens.

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 10:23