Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, September 25, 2017

PMF, networking help Eggert land NASA assignment

Jon Montgomery (MA '93), left, and Don Eggert (MPA '15) Jon Montgomery (MA '93), left, and Don Eggert (MPA '15)

Don Eggert (MPA ’15) is living out his dream of working for NASA, thanks to his Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) and La Follette School Associate Director Hilary Shager, who connected him with Jon Montgomery (MA ’93).

“Ever since NASA invited me to watch a space shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center in 2009, I’ve imagined how interesting and motivating it would and could be to actually work there. The main reason this happened is the La Follette School’s emphasis on and encouragement of networking,” Eggert explained.

After learning that he was a PMF finalist, Eggert asked Shager if any La Follette School alumni worked at NASA. Long story short, Montgomery is now serving as Eggert’s PMF mentor and helped him arrange an informational interview with NASA’s acting chief financial officer (CFO). The rest is history.

Eggert began his four-month developmental assignment as a management analyst in the CFO’s Budget Division on August 22, the day after viewing the solar eclipse in South Carolina. The assignment, Eggert’s final requirement to complete his fellowship, follows 20 months in the U.S. Department of Justice as the primary budget analyst for the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Prisoner Detention accounts, which total over $3 billion in budget authority.

Eggert said that budget formulation is a great option for La Follette School graduates interested in policy, especially in D.C., because budgets are the ultimate policy document. “Nothing happens in this city without dollars attached to it,” he noted.

“I am tremendously excited to have this opportunity. Although this may sound a little melodramatic, being here at NASA is really validation that dreams can come true,” Eggert said.