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Alumni share career advice with humanities majors

November 2, 2017
photo of a microphone contains the quote, "WRITE, WRITE, WRITE."Charles Kravetz ’74 majored in sociology and was involved in theater while a Rochester student. As manager of one of the most successful public radio stations in the country, he shared advice with students through a new partnership between the Humanities Center and the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections. "Learn how to write, learn how to communicate. And the better you write, the better you’re going to be.”

Today, Charles Kravetz ’74 is the general manager of WBUR, one of the leading NPR stations in America. Before his radio career, he was the president and general manager of New England Cable News, where he created the nightly magazine program Chronicle.

And before that, he was a would-be Broadway star.

“I was deeply involved in the theater,” he says of his undergraduate days. “I lived in the Drama House.” Kravetz seriously considered making a career of acting, until one day he had to decide: “I was cast in a play, and someone called me up saying they had a job opening in a television station news department.”

Kravetz says his time at Rochester, where he majored in sociology, prepared him well for what became a successful broadcast career that now spans more than 30 years.

“I think my studies at Rochester in theater and sociology and in the humanities—I took a lot of English, history, and philosophy—really were the best kind of preparation for work in communication and journalism,” he says.

A native of Boston, Kravetz returned to Rochester this fall to speak with students studying the humanities and to give a lecture on the state of the media in today’s political climate. His visit was part of a new collaboration between the Humanities Center and the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections. The two departments are working together to create new opportunities for students in the humanities to network and to recognize the ways in which their skills are highly coveted by many employers.

“It’s been really exciting,” says Caterina Caiazza, director of career curriculum initiatives. “You really find that a lot of what these students learn through their humanities studies are the same competencies that employers are looking for.”

Caiazza says that the Career Center is working to help students identify those skills and articulate their value to employers. She calls visits like Kravetz’s “paramount.”

“We are career educators and not necessarily specialists within each industry that’s out there,” she says. “We find it much more valuable for students’ understanding and development to connect them with the people who are out in the world doing the things that they may have interest in. Then students can relate what they learn to what they’re doing in the classroom and beyond.”

Studying the humanities offers valuable preparation for a wide range of fields, says Kravetz. He calls it an advantage to come to virtually any job as a “broadly educated person who reads interesting literature, who understands political science, who appreciates philosophy, and who ponders how to make sense of the country we live in, and the world we live in.”

He urged the students he met with to hone their communication skills: “Write, write, write. Learn how to write, learn how to communicate. And the better you write, the better you’re going to be.”

Caiazza shares Kravetz’s belief in taking advantage of opportunity. She calls the Humanities Center’s collaboration with the Career Center a source of great potential.

“I think the possibilities may be endless,” she says.

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Category: Student Life