Adeline Joshua was born and raised in Brooklyn before she moved to DC to attend Georgetown University. While there, she started working at the State Department and was offered a position right after graduating! She’s worked there non stop, with brief stints at the World Bank and is now at US Aid on the Pakistan Desk.
She recently received her Masters in International Development Studies heading to Ghana for her thesis from George Washington University. We’ll be talking to Addie about working in the government, being a girl boss, and gender!
Watch her interview here:
Listen to her interview here:
Read her interview here:
Alice: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on Madam Secretary? Well, my friend Addie is a former state department worker so she can tell us all about it.
Hi everyone. I’m Alice the social media manager for Jubilance, and today I’m talking with Adeline Joshua. Adeline was born and raised in Brooklyn before she moved to DC to attend Georgetown University. While there she started working for the State Department and was offered a position right after graduation. She worked there non-stop with a brief stint at the World Bank and now she’s at USAID on the Pakistan desk. She recently received her Master’s in International Development studies. Heading to Ghana for her thesis from George Washington University we will be talking to Addie about working in the government, being a girl boss, and gender. So thanks Addie for joining us.
Addie: Thank you, Alice, for having me.
Alice: Awesome. We like to start with some rapid-fire questions. Okay, Five Guys or In and Out?
Addie: Five Guys easy.
Alice: Chocolate or cheese?
Alice: Lip gloss or lipstick?
Addie: Lip gloss, I have some on now!
Alice: Jane Austen or Disney?
Addie: Jane Austen, but I’m counting Clueless in this.
Alice: Okay your favorite bachelor of all time?
Addie: Oh, that’s a hard one. They’re also despicable in different ways. I don’t know. He wasn’t technically a bachelor but on the bachelorette, I guess he technically wasn’t bachelor for The Bachelorette Ryan of Trista and Ryan since they’re still together and they seem like the realest couple so but I’ll go with that.
Alice: That sounds great. Can you talk about what it was like growing up in Brooklyn?
Addie: Sure, Brooklyn’s awesome. I feel it’s changed so much over the years every time I go home. It’s just a completely different neighborhood. It’s really like a Melting Pot, literally on one side of my block you could get these amazing baked goods and bagels from the Jewish Bakery and this nice Jewish community and on the other side of my block or amazing groceries Caribbean grocery stores where you can just got really great authentic Caribbean foo.
I really enjoy working– I mean living there and getting to know all these different cultures.
Alice: And what’s been your favorite part about living in DC you lived there for ten years now?
Addie: Yeah, DC is great also in its own way. It’s a little bit slower pace than New York, which is saying something because DC is a really vibrant community as well and tons of people live here, but yeah, I love it because it’s a different atmosphere. I feel like you get kind of that southern hospitality charm of it plus the accessibility is second to none. I mean all the public transportation here is just really great for me. I’ve really enjoyed getting going around and exploring the city.
Alice: And you’ve traveled everywhere in the world like so many places what’s been your favorite place so far?
Addie: Yeah, let’s see… I’ve been to really cool places, but I enjoy the trips where I get to hang out with my friends and enjoy those places. Like our trip to Canada together that was super fun for me our recent trip to California to see our friend Julie’s wedding. I really enjoyed that. Yeah, I love going on trips with friends.
Alice: Oh and also for everyone on this podcast, Addie’s my best friend and so just to specify so you can see you know that. Can you talk about some of the biggest cultural differences that you’ve seen between all these different places that you’ve lived and been in the US?
Addie: Cultural differences in the US?
Alice: What’s: the biggest differences that you’ve seen between DC and New York?
Addie: Yeah, I think definitely that difference in southern hospitality. I guess you’d say you will be called out for cutting somebody off trying to get onto the Metro there definitely isn’t that intensity in the mornings. Although it does get pretty intense early morning during the early morning commute. But I feel New York commuting is next level. So I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that. Yeah.
Alice: And can you talk about your process of getting to US Aid? You came from the state department and you worked your way to the Pakistan desk? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Addie: Sure, I actually join the– like you said, I joined the state department straight out of college. I was involved in an internship program in college that allowed me to get hired and competitively right after, It was one less thing I needed to worry about senior year, which was really great. And then I’ve been at the state department for seven years. It’s crazy how long we spend how fast it’s gone. And yeah, last year I got a notification for this new State Department US Aid Exchange program for employees and I applied not knowing if I would get it in and I did. And I’ve actually been working as a temporary higher with US Aid for a year now, but I will be staying on permanently as a desk officer for Pakistan. I’m really excited about that actually It’s a really great place to work.
Alice: And what’s been the most rewarding thing about being at US Aid? or your favorite–?
Addie: Well, I guess working as a desk officer. I’m sort of a go-between for our office in DC and our offices throughout Pakistan so collectively we call the US Aid offices in Pakistan. We extended mission. I act as a go-between for the mission and for DC and being the go-between I get to sit in on really interesting meetings with a private sector with NGOs with other interagency counterparts and getting to hear all these different perspectives on development just it enriches me and it’s just really a great great experience.
Alice: And you also had some international experience researching in Ghana. Can you talk a little bit about that and your project that you are working on for your thesis for your master’s?
Addie: Sure. My master’s thesis was a project that I worked on with a group of other grad students. We studied gaps in implementation for basic education for children with disabilities in Ghana. Ghana has a lot of these really incredible inclusive education policies, but we wanted to see what the reality was on the ground and how these policies were implemented. We have a chance to visit some schools and speak with local stakeholders and that was a really incredible experience as well to see that.
Alice: That’s wonderful and Addy can you tell us a little bit about what you’re up to in quarantine?
Addie: Sure. Well, I’m hanging out at home a lot. I mean that’s been nice I get to spend time with my cat at Cheddar, who seems love having all the attention now, what else am I doing? I bought an adult coloring book which has been really fun and stress-relieving for me. But also getting more opportunities to do this with friends like zoom chats and movie nights through Netflix that’s been fun. Actually I feel I’m connecting more with friends than I have in the past because we all live in different parts of the country. So it’s been really good to do this.
Alice: Yeah. It’s been really good to see you so much. It’s so nice and something that I asked always on this podcast is what is your definition for Womanhood? I know it’s probably something that can shift just like five minutes after you even have this conversation with me, but for you right now right at this moment, what is your take on being a woman?
Addie: Let’s see. I guess my definition of Womanhood would be contributing that other side of the story. I feel especially in development. There are a lot of issues with making sure that the gender perspective is always taken into consideration when designing projects. I know with right now with COVID-19. A lot of people are concerned about the implications that COVID-19 has on women, how staying at home in possibly dangerous situations with partners and spouses could lead to increased instances of violence on women and how pregnant women aren’t even considered the ones developing these drugs like testing on pregnant women to see how these effects to see how, what the effects would be. Being able to contribute that perspective making sure that we have that perspective included on the table is important.
Alice: Thank you, and I’m curious too, I know our idea of being a woman and being female and gender is constantly shifting, but you’ve lived in Spain you were in Ghana for quite some time. Did you see a difference in what gender is and how we define it in these different cultures and countries?
Addie: Yeah, how gender is defined? I mean, I guess it comes down to the roles that women play in these countries. A lot of countries in Africa lot of women are primarily smallholder farmers or contribute to the unofficial economy as running scale businesses and things like that, that don’t always get counted. Its women are out there doing the work but they aren’t really getting credit for it in the grand scene of how we count people contributing to the economy. That’s an interesting area and it’s something that we need to shed more light on. Who know better, it’s her.
Alice: I think that was great. Yeah.Thank you. Yeah. Addie you doing great.
Addie: All right.
Alice: And if a woman were to walk up to you today, and you just have one piece of advice to give them about it could be about anything. What would you tell them?
Addie: I guess one helpful piece of information that I always try to remind myself is to not get caught up in what other people are doing but because you know and social media does not help at all with this. It could be really hard to not compare yourself to other people’s success and how other people were able to get to where they are maybe faster but reminding yourself that we all have our own journeys to take and it’s all those things the bad and the good that make you who you are and get you where you want to go. Just keeping that perspective is always really helpful just be you.
Alice: Amazing. That’s wonderful. Yeah. That’s something I really need to keep in mind at all times.
Alice: Yeah and Addie what is next for you?
Addie: Who knows? I mean hopefully going outside probably night.
Alice: Amazing, visiting New York.
Addie: Exactly, sunlight.
Alice: In a while, long while when it’s less scary. Yeah.
Addie: Sunlight isn’t? you think so? the little things.
Alice: Is there anything else you’d like to add to our listeners?
Addie: Oh, just hang in there, stay home. That’s the best thing we could all do at this point and stay healthy.
Alice: Awesome. Thank you for being here today.
Addie: Thank you.