Why I Serve: Federal employees share their proudest accomplishments
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Why I Serve: Federal employees share their proudest accomplishments

May 7, 2020 | Updated on July 1, 2021

In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, we asked federal employees to share their stories of working in public service. More than 130 federal employees from 45 different agencies answered.

Some responses came from federal employees in their first year of service, while others came from people who have served for decades. No matter the length of their government tenure, the people who shared their accounts are doing important work for our government that benefits the country as a whole.

Here are their accomplishments about saving lives, protecting the environment and recruiting the next generation of public servants:


  • Ensuring the safety of astronauts by working on space shuttles’ payload safety requirements. (Howard K., NASA)
  • Preventing hundreds of faulty medical devices, including ventilators and infusion pumps, from being distributed for public use. (Kirtida P., Food and Drug Administration)
  • Managing a communications campaign at the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent drowning in pools and spas for children younger than 15 that resulted in a 14% decrease in childhood drownings. (Ellyn P., Census Bureau)


  • Managing a legal case about the mining industry’s harm to migratory birds that resulted in modified mining practices and compensation to the public for lost natural resources. (Dori R., National Nuclear Security Administration)
  • Leading the effort to preserve historically significant records of wildland fire incident management for responders to use as references. (Richard B., National Archives and Records Administration)
  • Quickly analyzing water samples from Flint, Michigan, to help the government respond to the city’s water crisis. (Katie A., Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Cleaning up a former nuclear production site and preparing it for community use. (Melody B., Department of Energy)

Recruiting and hiring

  • Co-founding the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to bring tech talent into public service. (Arianne G., Office of Personnel Management)
  • Instituting the first student trainee program in an office at the Customs and Border Protection, which transitioned 90% of interns to permanent employees. (Tameka B., Customs and Border Protection)
  • Planning and organizing review panels to select 62 students across the country to be the 2020 recipients of the Truman Scholarship, which provides $30,000 toward a graduate degree in public service. (Ellen D., Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation)

We’ll share more of these accomplishments and other stories on our We the Partnership blog and social media channels. To share your own experience of working in federal government, take the #WhyIServe survey.