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Agurkis hails from a small lake town in Minnesota, where growing up, she developed a passion for diplomacy and international affairs. After a year at a small private university, Julie transferred to UMD and found what she was looking for: a stimulating, intellectual environment, approachable faculty, and numerous activities that would support her goals. While at UMD, she pursued international studies, history, and studied abroad in France and Greece. After graduating in 2006, she attended the University of Connecticut and earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science, with a focus on foreign policy and diplomatic history.
Julie’s studies and passion came to fruition when the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC offered her a program analyst position. She was quickly promoted to a new position as a congressional relations specialist. In that role, she worked with Members of Congress on legislation to promote the mission of the National Archives and she helped thousands of Americans find military, family, and other historically important records. The work was exciting and challenging, and Julie impressed her contacts on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who sought to benefit from her experience by offering a one year position as a detailee on the Committee. She prepared Members of the Committee for Congressional hearings and she drafted, negotiated, and helped advance legislation, including a Freedom of Information Act bill that President Obama signed into law in July 2016.
Today, Julie is a Senior Congressional Advisor at the U.S. Department of State. She serves as a liaison between Congress and the State Department navigating current issues such as human trafficking, treaties, and women’s issues. Despite the long hours, she finds her work stimulating and impactful. Julie’s experience shows that it’s possible for someone from a small town to go to a great university on a great lake and then chart a path to work on important foreign policy in Washington, DC.