Alumnus and Student Connect at Facebook

While Facebook continues to be a forerunner in shaping how people communicate, an alumnus and current student from Truman are working to leave their mark on the social networking giant.

Corey Owens (’06) has been working at Facebook for the past two years. Currently he operates out of the company’s Washington, D.C., office managing Facebook’s federal political action committee, state legislative affairs and a number of other policy issues such as data center infrastructure. As guidelines are constantly being reshaped in the digital era, Owens is in a unique position to influence Facebook and social media for years to come.

“We’re involved in dozens of policy areas and there’s always more work to be done than you can handle at any one moment,” Owens said. “Having that kind of license to explore and try new things is very different than other jobs I’ve had.”

Owens credits the education he received at Truman with some of the success he has experienced at Facebook.

“Working in public policy requires being conversant in a lot of subject areas,” he said. “Truman has always aimed to produce well-rounded graduates with exposure to many fields, and that training has certainly helped me in this job.”

Owens’ Truman education is one of the reasons he is working in Washington, D.C., today. As a student, he completed an internship in the capital for the American Civil Liberties Union and after graduation got his first job with the organization.

A few years later, a former colleague recruited him to Facebook for his experience with digital privacy issues.

Once Owens was in a position to select members of his own team at Facebook, he reached out to his alma mater.

“I was eager to give a Truman student the same kind of positive experience I had during my internship in Washington,” he said. “My internship gave me an amazing opportunity, and I wanted to give another Truman student the same shot that I had.”

After consulting with some former professors, student Christian Johns came highly recommended to Owens. Johns, who was studying abroad in Australia at the time, immediately applied and even interviewed at 4 a.m. to compensate for the time difference.

Johns, a political science major who has already been accepted to a number of law schools, has spent this semester working on state and local legislative issues as well as assisting Owens with some of the day-to-day operations of the political action committee.

“Thankfully, Corey and a few other people in our office have given me the opportunity to work on some projects that interest me, and they value my contribution every day,” Johns said. “The goal of most internships is to gain valuable work experience in a field, and also get the opportunity to network and make good impressions. I can’t think of a place where I could have a better chance to do those things than working at Facebook’s D.C. office.”

Like many companies, Facebook offers several different areas where potential interns can get involved, including programming, communications and policy, to name a few.

Not surprisingly, Johns credits good grades and extracurricular activities with helping get his internship, but he also credits his association with Truman.

“I keep finding that the reputation of Truman students precedes us,” he said. “In some ways, just being a Truman undergrad can put you in some conversations that other students don’t get to experience.”

Johns’ internship will end in May, and as of now, he plans on attending law school in the fall. While he may be the first Truman student to intern with Facebook, he probably will not be the last.

“Christian’s done really well here, so I’m sure we’ll be keeping Truman students in mind for future internships,” Owens said.