Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Ben Seitelman

seitelmanName: Benjamin Seitelman        

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science

Current City, State of Residence: Highland Park, IL

Job Title: Finance Administrator               

Employer: Keith Fitzgerald for Congress

Family: Parents (Lori and David), two sisters (Sara and Jessica)

How did you choose your major?

I have always been interested in history and politics and the intersection at which both subjects meet. The unique curriculum at the University of Rochester allowed me to major in both subjects and to graduate within four years.

What did you wish you had known before graduating? What would you have done differently?

I would have pursued more summer opportunities relating to my majors, particularly in history. Pursuing such opportunities would have given me more early career experience as well as a more solid idea of what career I want to pursue with my life.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

Since the graduate degree I intend to pursue (a Master’s in Public Policy) usually does not admit students right out of their undergraduate studies, I chose to begin working right after graduation. However, the choice between going straight to graduate school and working after graduation should depend on your individual circumstances as a history major. Of my fellow history majors in the class of 2011, some went straight to graduate school, while others joined the workforce. I would consider your options (i.e. what type of graduate degree you intend to pursue, what jobs are available) before making that decision.

What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying history?

Academia is not for everyone. Find something you love regardless of its relation to history and do it; the critical thinking and writing skills you will pick up from your history major will help you to succeed regardless of the career path you take. The best thing you can do for your career prospects as a history major is to attend all of your classes and become engaged in them.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I worked this election cycle for various political campaigns; for the last three months, I served as a member of a fundraising team for a Congressional campaign in Florida. My experience with political campaigns dates back to high school; working on campaigns has always been something I enjoyed, so I decided to attempt to make a living at it. However, the transitory lifestyle of campaigning has led me to consider taking my campaign skills into similar but related fields such as public service or non-profits that provide similar work experiences with more job security.

Where would you like to be in five years?

In five years, I would like to be in graduate school pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy while having advanced myself in my career.