Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Patrick Brennan

Name: Patrick Brennan
Age: 28
Occupation: Fiscal Analyst
Education (UR and additional):  B.A. in Philosophy, University of Rochester, 2005, Rutgers MCRP – Urban Planning
Current city/state of residence: Delanco, NJ
Family: Wife
Community activities: Volunteer with town planning committees, working with community development  groups on foreclosure prevention


When and how did you choose your major?

I came to Rochester with an interest in Philosophy and Medicine.  By the end of freshman year, I realized that I kept sleeping through the Biology and Chemistry classes, but was excited to attend philosophy classes and engage with new ideas that challenged my very approach to knowledge and argument.  I ended up taking 20 philosophy classes.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

Philosophy Council, Outside Speakers, Concerts, CAB, Hall Council, Community Service Network, and Student Government.  Participating in student activities was a way for me to test my limits and to see what I could accomplish planning events and working on projects.  It was where I learned about success and failure and how to get things done.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

Corporate Site Selection Consulting – I was interested in consulting at graduation, and during my first job search I was fortunate to find a small firm that valued my skill set and was willing to mentor me.

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

I am a fiscal analyst in transportation and authorities with the New Jersey legislature.  I chose this career because it allows me to work closely with the state’s transportation capital program.  I am passionate about transportation issues and this is a way for me to place myself in the middle of many transportation  issues.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

The analytic reasoning skills that I developed in my philosophy program have served me very well.  I credit it for my ability to deconstruct political policy arguments, understand relational databases, and sift through State budgets.

What advice do you have for current students?

College is one of the few places where the toughest part of going out and throwing an event or changing your environment is having the interest and talking to the right administrator, rather than having experience or money.  Take advantage of that, because even after 5 years of transportation planning experience, nobody will let me schedule their bus routes, and I still haven’t found a sponsor that will let me set video games to free play and bring in 20 ft of subs just because it’s a Wednesday.