Alumnus Speaks about his Foreign Service Career

Careers and Experiences in the Foreign Service

July 27, 2010

What should you do with your life after college? Do you have to stick with something that your major prepares you for? To help you answer these questions, Honors College alumnus Edward Burleson - who has his bachelor's degree in mathematics and his master's in modern dance - presented "Careers and Experiences in the Foreign Service," during which he described careers in the foreign service and his experiences serving in the Philippines as a foreign service officer.

Edward Burleson, Foreign Service OfficerEdward Burleson

American Embassy Manila, Philippines

Ed Burleson was born and reared in Houston, Texas. He went to Bellaire High School and then to the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then took a slightly different direction and earned a a Master’s degree in modern dance from the University of New Mexico.

Ed joined the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in January 2008 and served his first tour overseas in Manila, the Philippines. He worked mostly in the Non-immigrant Visa unit of the Consular section, interviewing over 20,000 people while adjudicating the full spectrum of available visa classes. He also spent six months as Ambassador Kenney’s staff assistant, managing the flow of communications to the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), and coordinating and organizing the Ambassador’s and DCM’s travel and other internal projects.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ed accrued diverse experience in public and private settings in the domestic and international arenas. For seven years he worked as first as an instructional designer and later as the Director of Product Development at EduNeering, Inc, an e-learning company specializing in training on federal regulations in the pharmaceutical, energy, healthcare, and general industries. Just before working for EduNeering, Ed worked in the Consulate General of Japan at Houston as Special Assistant to the Consul General. During his tenure there, Ed conducted political, economic, and cultural research and coordinated various internal projects. 

Following in his parents footsteps, Ed also spent time in the classroom working as a teacher. Ed first taught English as a second language in Japan for three years and then taught 7th grade mathematics in the Alief Independent School District.

He is married, and has two daughters, aged 9 and 11. He speaks Japanese and a little Spanish. Ed will be going to Tokyo, Japan, for his next two-year assignment in August 2010.