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Students in Public Service: Helping the Veteran Community

Students in Public Service: Helping the Veteran Community

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Interview with Kristine Clark

The following profile is the fourth in a series of public service student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.

Job title: Supervisor with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Procurement Analyst with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Degree: Master of Public Administration at American Military University

What are you currently working on within your field?

AMU Alumna, Kristine Clark
AMU Alumna, Kristine Clark

I am currently working on a project to restructure the contracting arm of the VA. We presented this project to the VA’s Principal Executive Director of the Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction, and I was placed on a team to assist in the current reorganization efforts.

I’ve been employed at the VA for 13 years. In 2013, I received an official commendation and nomination for Procurement Analyst of the Year for implementing a local procurement management review process within the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

What I’m really proud of is my work on behalf of the VA with the DEKA Arm System. I worked on the contracts that helped the VA, the Department of Defense (DoD) and private organizations to move this prosthetic arm from a concept to FDA clearance.

Why is there a need for this type of change in the veteran community?

The restructuring project will provide a better use of the resources currently in place at the VA. Additionally, the reorganization suggested as part of this project should increase employee engagement.

In turn, this change will decrease employee turnover while increasing employees’ productivity and innovation within VA Acquisitions. All of these outcomes would have a positive effect on the VA’s ability to procure the services and supplies needed to support veterans.

What is your goal for helping the veteran community?

I hope to improve VA Acquisitions in whatever manner I can. My contributions are the backstage work. This work is necessary to assure VA people, who directly interact with veterans, that they’ll be able to accomplish their mission. With the cost savings we achieve, more funds are available to meet the VA’s needs and to help the VA accomplish its mission.

Prior to becoming a supervisor with the VA, I was the co-chair for the combined federal campaign for the Providence VA Medical Center (VAMC). I helped plan events there to encourage employees to make charitable donations through the federal workplace-giving program.

My team increased the donation totals for the Providence VAMC, earning the John F. Kennedy Award for the medical center that year. I also received a special contribution award for this work.

I also use my hobby of running to raise funds for other people. Each year, I pick one race and collect money to support a charity as a part of the run. These charities include programs that support training veterans with new job skills, reducing veteran homelessness and helping servicemembers who return from battle with injuries.

I want to improve my running endurance so I can become a wingman for Athletes Serving Athletes soon. This group helps disabled people gain the experience of participating in and finishing a race by others acting as their legs, hearts and lungs.

What do you enjoy most in regard to your work with veterans?

What I find most enjoyable is interacting with veterans. I love just talking with these men and women about any topic. My job does not afford me the ability to interact with veterans often, if at all.

In some of my previous positions, I interacted with veterans on a daily basis. These interactions would remind me of why I have remained in civil service for 15 years. Now I find the need to find alternative activities that allow me the opportunity to interact with veterans and maintain my commitment to the VA’s mission.

Do you plan on branching out further with your volunteer work in the veteran community?

Having completed my degree, I now find that I have extra hours in my week for supporting veterans in new ways. I will continue to look for opportunities to volunteer for organizations that support veterans.

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