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.

Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Ben Epstein

defaultName: Ben Epstein

Age:  36

Education: BA (Film Studies & Political Science)

Current city/state of residence: NYC, NY

Job Title: Producer, American Pickers

Employer: Cineflix


Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?  

I was offered a great financial aid package.

When and how did you choose your major?  

I started as a Political Science major, and then started taking Film Studies Courses.  Eventually I decided that the two compliment each other well and eventually chose to complete both as a double major.

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

Getting a foothold in my chosen field of Film and Television wasn’t easy.  Through an alumni connection I eventually found work as an intern on music videos and commercials, which led to paid work as a PA.

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

I’m a freelance TV Producer, Director and Writer for non-fiction cable networks.  I currently work on American Pickers for History.  After working on music videos and commercials, I realized that I’d rather work in a format that involved more substance and storytelling.  In 2000 I transitioned to documentary TV production and have since produced, written and directed a wide variety of cable programming for major basic cable networks.

What advice do you have for current students?

Pick a clear career goal and study the dynamics of your chosen industry.  Don’t assume it will be easy to attain or that you will find an easy path to the top.  There are few shortcuts in real life, but through hard work and by paying your dues, you can get there.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Jonathan Garon

garonName: Jonathan Garon

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science

Current City, State of Residence: Washington, DC


How did you choose your major(s)?

I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember.  Growing up in Virginia, where 70% of the American Civil War was fought, my parents would take my siblings and me to pastoral fields that were scenes of carnage 150 years ago.  Growing up, I began to eye history through a lens of how it has shaped who we are today, but I’ve still never lost that wide-eyed wonder I experienced as a child standing on the same ground of my American ancestors.

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

My most significant activity was my undergraduate research, which ended up serving as my senior year writing history requirement.  Based on a series of letters written by my grandfather during WWII, I designed a research project centering on de-Nazification in post-war Germany and the onset of the Cold War.  If you can find a project that truly fascinates you, it is beneficial in so many ways.  Not only do you get great things to put on your resume, but you really are able to extract the most value and worth from your history major and set yourself apart from your peers in your desire to work hard and learn.

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

Unless you are 110% sure about the career path you wish to pursue, I am a huge proponent of taking at least one year post-college to work, save money, and think about your future.  When I graduated, I had neither the funds nor the knowledge of exactly what I wanted to pursue to justify entering into a graduate program.  I think a lot of people panic and continue with more schooling to avoid some kind of bleak work future or unemployment.  But whether you are working an unpaid internship in your field or working retail at The Gap, I think that down time is important – to give your school mind a rest, really think about your strengths, what you want to pursue, and how you want to pursue it.  I have just moved back to the East Coast after three years waiting tables in San Francisco.  I also worked two part-time unpaid internships in my time there.  Now, I feel rested and renewed and ready to pursue what I actually studied.  Side note – four of my close friends from UR went directly into law school after graduation.  I remember speaking with three of them during their first year and all of them expressed the same sentiment – they wished they had just taken one year to relax and think about their future.  For some people, going straight into more school may be the right step.  But I would take some time for serious thought and reflection before making a decision.

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

I would say do your best to focus on accomplishing a lot during your time at UR.  That means taking on greater academic challenges to set yourself apart on your resume post-graduation.  Every student at UR is smart and has a lot to show for themselves.  Make it a point to do something different that makes you stand out.  Take an active role in a campus organization, take on an undergraduate research project, etc.  Something, anything that will make you stand out as unique to future employers.  It does not have to be something larger than life – just something worth mentioning and being proud of. 

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

I work as the Associate Program Director at the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, a Washington, D.C.-based business advocacy organization that works to foster stronger trade and commercial between the corporations operating across a variety of sectors in the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.  One of my driving moves in relocating back to the D.C. area was the desire to find work in international affairs, specifically in the Middle East, which has always been my focus.  I find my current role interesting as it touches on a unique cross-section of business, government, and international affairs.

In five years, I would like to be working in business development for a multi-national corporation, hopefully with a focus on alternative and renewable energy development.

Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Alissa (Miller) Harrington

harringtonName: Alissa (Miller) Harrington

Education (UR and additional): BA (Religious Studies & Political Science), University of Rochester, 2004; Master of Advocacy & Political Leadership, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Current city/state of residence: St. Paul, MN

Job Title: Policy Analyst; political consultant

Employer: State of Minnesota; self

Family: Husband, Christopher (’03) & 2 dogs: Meliora & Scarlet

Community activities: Democratic Farmer Labor Party & campaigns, union activities, church choir, arts volunteering


When and how did you choose your major?

My freshman advisor was Prof. Brooks, who said to find my passion and go from there. Turns out I wasn’t as passionate about neurology as I thought. No one was surprised that I turned the hours I spent learning about religions and my interest in politics into my majors.

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

The Campus Times provided a counterpoint to academia; I learned to be concise. The Interfaith Round Table & the Newman Community showed me how religious belief played out in real life and offered me a sanctuary from the busyness of campus. The Music Interest Floor taught me some hard lessons about leadership, community and how to plan events.

What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?

The career center. I worked as a peer career advisor and had the pleasure of seeing how honestly interested everyone was in giving students the tools to succeed, and how those tools paid off.

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

I do policy analysis and program development for Minnesota’s child support program. I’ve been called to public service and right now, this is the current manifestation. Service to others has always been one of my deeply held values, and I believe that politics/government can be about serving the people.

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

The idea that everyone has a perspective and there is a reason for it, even if it isn’t clear and even if you disagree. That understanding has contributed to my success in organizing, politics and analysis more than any other knowledge, and it sets me apart from others.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

I balance long term: there have been intense times when I work 60 plus hours/week for months, but I also use my vacation time. I find little ways to find moments alone and moments to ritualize and refocus during the intense times. During the not-so-intense times, I read, write, knit, garden, explore, create and play. And most importantly, especially when in the midst of craziness, I try to treat myself gently.

How are you still connected with the University?

I attend and help plan local alumni events out here in Minnesota, perform alumni interviews with my husband, come back to campus when we visit my in-laws and I am an associate member of the George Eastman Circle. More important than all of those things, I stay connected with my friends and classmates.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Lauren Jewett

Jewett

Name:  Lauren Jewett

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science (major), American Sign Language (minor)

Additional Education: Alternative Certification Program (teaching certification)
Current City, State of Residence: New Orleans, LA

Job Title:  Special Education Case Manager

Employer: Special Education Case Manager, KIPP McDonogh 15 Primary School for the Creative Arts and Content Seminar Instructor, The New Teacher Project (TNTP)

Community Activities: Secretary and Board Member of New Orleans Track Club (NOTC),  Member at-large Executive Council for United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO), New  Teacher’s Roundtable


How did you choose your major(s)?

I was always interested in social studies in middle school and high school and it had been my favorite subject. I naturally wanted to continue studying history when I got to college, so I immediately signed up for an American history class and a political theory class during the first semester of my freshman year. I really enjoyed the courses and decided that I wanted to major in both history and political science. The University of Rochester’s flexibility in curriculum afforded me the opportunity to be a double major.

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

As a University of Rochester student, I was a four-year member of the varsity cross-country and varsity track and field teams. I also served as a Residential Advisor (RA) for two years, worked as an employee at the campus bookstore for four years, and taught as a political science teaching assistant. All of these activities strengthened my ability to effectively balance time, learn the importance of teamwork, and represent the University of Rochester in a positive way.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

Many of my cross country and track and field teammates, especially the older members of the teams, served as really important mentors during my first few years on campus. I still stay in touch with many of them even though we have all graduated and gone our separate ways. In addition, I still stay in touch with some of my professors from the history and political science departments and try to make an effort to visit them when I am on campus from time to time.

What was your first job after graduation? What college experiences prepared or qualified you for that position?

After graduating from the University of Rochester in 2009, I immediately traveled to New Orleans as a corps member with Teach for America. I spent the summer training in Phoenix, Arizona and taught first and second grade special education in a rural parish just outside of New Orleans while working on gaining my teaching certification in Louisiana. The college experiences that best prepared me for this position were all of the responsibilities and activities that I balanced in college. College taught me a lot about how to manage and prioritize time and how to be organized. These were skills that are imperative as a special education teacher. 

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

After completing my Teach for America corps commitment in 2011, I decided to continue working in education in New Orleans. I worked for one year as the Director of Scholar Supports at a charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana. I helped oversee the entire special education department at my school and ensured compliance with local, state, and federal special education laws so that we could appropriately serve students with disabilities and special needs. After this position, I went to a KIPP school in the city to work a special education teacher. I also currently work with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) as a seminar instructor and teach a seminar to first year special education teachers who are working on gaining their certification. I chose this career because my aunt has a disability and I feel that it is extremely important, especially in a school system that is in the midst of a great deal of reform, that children with disabilities and their families have someone who understands students’ needs and will advocate for them. In five years, I would like to go to graduate school, likely for education, and would still like to be working in special education.

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

Definitely take advantage of as many of the wonderful opportunities that the University of Rochester offers as you can. Study the things and do the things that make you the happiest. When you are happy, you will feel successful. These opportunities will make you a well-rounded person and give you a better perspective on life. My advice that is specific to history majors is to also really think about how the content they are studying might impact their professions later on in life. Looking back on my college experiences, I can directly connect my current experiences as a public school teacher in the city of New Orleans to many of the courses I took that covered social movements, reform, and urban history.

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

Since I have only worked since graduation and have yet to pursue a graduate degree, I do not think I can necessarily make any comparative judgments as to which pathway is better. However, I think that working right after graduation has opened my eyes to many things that I could never learn in a book or in a graduate school course. Nothing compares to real-life, hands-on experience. I planned on going to law school post-graduation, and I’m sure I would have gotten through it just fine, but when I graduated in 2009, I do not think I really had a sense of focus in terms of what law school would mean for me three years later. Now that I have worked and taught in a region with a very complicated education system, especially when it comes to children with special needs, I have a much better sense of direction about my professional pursuits and ambitions for higher education.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Nathan Novosel

natnovAPName: Nathan Novosel
UR Major: Financial Economics
Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science
Additional Education: Currently taking classes towards my MEd at George Mason University
Current City, State of Residence: Washington, D.C.
Job Title: Third Grade Math and Science Teacher
Employer: Browne Education Campus
Community Activities: Currently the fourth and fifth grade basketball coach at BEC. I am also a volunteer for the Trevor Project Chapter in Washington, D.C.


 

How did you choose your major(s)?

I became politically engaged during my senior year of high school as the 2008 presidential campaign was picking up speed. I was fascinated by the political strategies of the election, but I was also intrigued by the complexity of the policies being discussed. I knew that economics and political science would help my understandings of both of these topics.

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

I was a member and leader of several organizations. I was a co-captain of the varsity basketball team, the head captain of the St. Sebastian Society, an associate justice on the All-Campus Judicial Council, the vice president of the College Democrats, and a founding member and Professional Chairman of AKPsi Business Fraternity. Each of these roles allowed me to grow as an individual and as a leader.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

I was very blessed to have had several mentors in each facet of my college experience, but in particular stand out to me. In athletics, my head coach, Luke Flockerzi, taught me not only how to be a better basketball player, but a better man. My economics advisor, Michael Rizzo, pushed me to new heights in my academic thinking and became a very close friend. Both Flockerzi and Rizzo continue to be large mentors in my life.

What are some specific skills students should develop during an internship?

TIME MANAGEMENT. I can think of no better skill to develop in an internship than time management. If students can master time management before they are hired on the job, then those students will be significantly better prepared to transition into the work place than their peer counterparts who still struggle with using their time efficiently.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

I am currently the third grade math and science teacher at Browne Education Campus in Washington D.C. I decided to join Teach for America late my senior year. I believe that having an impact in 36 8-year olds lives’ is one of the most meaningful impacts recent graduates can have. I also believe that spending several years teaching will better inform me of the successes occurring in our education system and the improvements must be made. I am unsure where I would like to be in five years.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Jonathan Elkin

image1

Name: Jonathan Elkin ’08

Education (UR and Additional): BA (Political Science & African/African-American Studies), University of Rochester, 2008

Job Title: Student

Employer: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Community activities: American Jewish World Service – Global Circle


When and how did you choose your major?

I doubled majored in political science and African/African-American studies (AAS) and decided on each at very different stages of my college career. I remember knowing that I wanted to major in political science before I even applied to college. I think at that point I had aspirations of running for political office. It was a subject that interested me and I felt like I thrived in discussion-based classes. My decision to major in AAS was a little less premeditated. I took my first class in the AAS department during the first semester of my freshmen year. It was called “The History of Race in America” and is taught every four years by Professor Hudson. The class was challenging and intellectually stimulating. As I continued to take classes in the AAS department, my appreciation for the academic and personal development I was gaining, coupled with the seminar-style class environments, led me to take classes in AAS nearly every semester until at one point I realized that I could actually complete a major in AAS. So I did!

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

I was involved with Hillel throughout my time at Rochester and was an RA for two years. I met a lot of great people, and gained some very close friends, through my involvement in both communities and also had the opportunity to cultivate and develop leadership skills. The experience of holding leadership positions in college gave me some additional confidence upon graduation as well as valuable skills that I’ve been able to draw upon in the years since then.

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

After graduation I joined the Peace Corps where I lived and worked in Azerbaijan for two years. After spending a semester abroad in Kenya, I wanted a more immersive cross-cultural experience and an opportunity to learn about, and engage in, the development of another community. It was an exceptionally rich and constantly stimulating experience – one that I think will inform a lot of what I do in the years ahead.

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

I am a student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where I study international development and international economics. After spending a few years abroad and working in corporate social responsibility consulting, I wanted to return to school to get the theoretical and practical skills to take my career to the next level. 

How do you balance your work and personal life?

It can definitely be a challenge to balance a demanding graduate school schedule and personal life. One thing that has been reinforced since Rochester is that valuable learning happens not just within the formal curriculum, but also in discussions and time spent with peers. My classmates at SAIS come from a wide array of backgrounds and parts of the world – from the U.S. Marine Corps, to NGO work in China, to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I try to ensure that my course work is enhanced by the relationships I form with classmates as well. Additionally, it’s also critical to have fun! Balance is key.

What advice do you have for current students?

My advice for current students would be to go to office hours, see speakers whenever they come to the university, and try to find a good balance between work and personal life. College, and the University of Rochester in particular, provides many opportunities to be exposed to new and stimulating ideas and form meaningful relationships with faculty and fellow students. I wish I did a better job in some of these areas while I was a student – there really is a place for all of it.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Mark S. Zaid

MarkName: Mark S. Zaid

Education: UR’89, BA HIS/PSC; Albany Law School, JD’92

Current city/state of residence: Rockville, Maryland

Job Title: Managing Partner

Employer: Law Firm of Mark S. Zaid, P.C.


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

In addition to double-majoring in History/Political Science, I spent a lot time engaged in UR activities. I was a member of the Winter/Spring Track (1985 – 1987) and football (1985) teams, as well as a reporter/photography editor for the Campus Times. Given my time as a volunteer fireman outside of UR, I also spent time working for the Fire Marshal’s Office handling campus inspections for fire code violations. It was a natural fit to then become an Emergency Medical Technician and work for MERT (“Medical Emergency Response Team”) too. At the time I remember setting a record for most hours spent on duty in a month, which I recall was then about 420 hours. I also spent a semester working in the Government Documents Section of the Library, which forecast my current position on the Library Alumni Council. But perhaps most significant was helping establish as a Charter Brother in 1986 the NY Xi Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, for which I served as its first Rush Chairman. The Chapter today (for which I serve on the Alumni Council), more than 25 years later, is stronger than ever, which is something I am very proud to see.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

Jesse Moore, Professor Emeritus of the History Department, was my freshman professor and I established an instant rapport/bond with him. I also participated in Jesse’s seminar on South Africa after I returned from studying abroad in London in 1988 as part of the UR’s British Parliament Externship program where I worked on South African matters for a member of the House of Commons. Jesse then served as my History Honor’s Advisor. We have stayed in touch all these years and get together just about every time I visit the UR (particularly for lunch at Nick Tahou’s!), which is often 3x annually.

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

I immediately attended Albany Law School of Union University the August after UR graduation. Quite honestly I had law school planned from the beginning of my undergraduate days. What changed was my major. At first I started out in Computer Science, which in 1985 was a new field and one I thought would be incredibly promising for a lawyer. Alas, I hated the classwork and did not last even one semester!!! I switched to History/Political Science and loved it. And both majors obviously worked well to prepare me for my legal career.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

This is a question that often is never fully answered for many of us!!! But the answer is you have to make sure you achieve a respectable balance. As much as my professional responsibilities keep me busy, and that can be 24/7 at times (at least it seems!), I will always take time for hobbies, sports, travel and other recreational activities. Yes, I often work until 3 am but when clients are telling me that I need to go on vacation, clearly I am working too much! And most of all I make every effort to be there for family events that once the time has passed can never be recaptured.

How are you still connected with the University?

I continue to remain closely connected with the University. Indeed, I am probably more involved today than I have been since the day I graduated nearly 25 years ago. I have served in a variety of alumni positions over the years while I lived in Albany, New York and now in the Washington, D.C. area. I am currently a member of the Library Alumni Council and Libraries Campaign Committee as well as the Washington, D.C. Regional Cabinet. I was also a Charter Member of the George Eastman Circle and was named as the first Chair of the Washington, D.C. GEC Council. In 2009, I was honored to be the first recipient of the John N. Wilder Award for Alumni Service, which relied in part on the fact that I co-wrote (with UR Library staff) “Wish You Were Here: A Century of Postcards of the University of Rochester” (2009) and established in 2005 the endowed Pan Am 103 Memorial Scholarship in memory of Katherine Hollister and Eric Coker, both members of the Class of 1990. I have also had the pleasure of speaking at two Meliora Weekends, including serving as a panelist on Miller’s Court, and delivering several speeches on national security topics over the years for the student body and general community.

What advice do you have for current students?

Take advantage of your time at UR!!! I had a wonderful experience with the University, which is why I still love to be involved more every day. But I do have regrets, and those relate to not taking full advantage of the range of cultural activities that the UR offers to its students and community. Most notably I am still annoyed at myself that I never attended any Eastman performances. I also wish I had explored the region more. But the most important piece of advice I can give is to engage in as many activities as possible and open your mind to everything that is offered. The flexibility to experience life that is generally encountered during college years is often not repeated in later years. Learn. Experience. Do. To me that is what Meliora is all about!

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Anthony Baldo

Baldo

Name: Anthony Baldo

UR Major: Economics and Political Science

Current City, State of Residence: Tampa, Fl

Job Title: Vice president – Branch Manager

Employer: JP Morgan Chase

Community Activities: Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors – Treasurer and Safety Harbor Business Council Liaison.

 


How did you choose your major(s)?

Choosing my major was easy for me, because in some ways it chose me at a young age. I was always very business oriented, driven, and enjoyed the “why” behind successful business practices. Economics and political science fit well together, because politics impact our economy greatly.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

To be honest, this is a struggle to this day. Work can take over your life, but to be as effective as possible at work, you must be able to separate yourself from it, and enjoy yourself. I can’t say I have found balance in my life, but hard work, long hours, and that occasional vacation to seclusion has done me well.

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

I wish I would have had realistic expectations of what the real world was like after college. I think it is a common misconception that you are going to walk out of UR and have job offers knocking at your door. Senior year goes by very quickly, and if I could do it again, I would have spent more time resume building, and working with a career counselor to have a better plan after graduation.

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

I received the best advice I could have asked for from a professor I had senior year. He said “Anthony, instead of going back to school to get a grade, get five years work experience, come back to apply what you have learned to become a better leader in the workplace.” To this day, I am thankful I listened, and joined the ranks of Chase. I will further my education at some point, but as needed, and tailored to my career path.

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

I was relocated down to Clearwater, Florida last September to open a new branch for Chase. It was my responsibility to get involved in the community, create a business plan, hire a staff of financial professionals, and start a branch from the ground up. I am able to run this business as my own, and enjoy each day in my role. I chose banking because I am passionate about helping my clients achieve their financial goals.

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

I would advise any current students to network and land as many internships as possible. At times, it’s not what you know, but whom you know. With that being said, I would like them to know that knowing people and having experience is ultimately how you get hired.

Fellowship Prepares Rochester Student for Career in International Affairs

By Melissa Greco Lopes
Univ. Communications

University of Rochester undergraduate Jonathan Johnson ’14 has been selected as a 2013 Public Policy & International Affairs Fellow at Carnegie Mellon’s Junior Summer Institute. He is the second Rochester student to be named a PPIA Fellow in the last two years and is among the 20 recipients selected from a national pool of candidates to participate in the program at Carnegie Mellon.

As a PPIA Fellow, Johnson will spend seven weeks at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College—their graduate school focusing on public policy—in this highly selective summer program designed to prepare students from diverse social and economic backgrounds for graduate study and careers in public policy and international affairs. As a political science and anthropology major, Johnson has studied refugee populations and policy effects on war and genocide. His interest in the intersection of identity and policy, specifically how disadvantaged populations overcome obstacles, led him to apply for the PPIA Fellowship, which will help hone the skills required to conduct policy analysis.

“The fellowship looks at how policy affects individuals, states, and countries in nuanced ways—both on micro and macro levels,” Johnson said, “and understanding these complex relationships will help me gain the intellectual background needed to further my goals in affecting real-world change in the future.”

At Rochester, Johnson has been an active member of the campus community. He has served as a resident advisor for three years and as a Meridian, an ambassador for the Admissions Office. A perennial member of the Dean’s List, he participated in the Compass to Personal Success and Urban Fellows programs, two leadership and civic engagement initiatives through the University’s Rochester Center for Community Leadership. Johnson also is president of the men’s volleyball club.

While in Pennsylvania, Johnson will study economics, statistics, policy analysis and management, writing, and public speaking. The Junior Summer Institute is a blend of classroom coursework and workshops that address a variety of domestic and international issues. Carnegie Mellon’s program provides career-planning workshops that include GRE prep and one-on-one meetings with admissions and program staff members from graduate school. Fellows also will have opportunities to meet with public affairs practitioners and take a networking trip to Washington, D.C.

Johnson, a native of Crystal River, Fla., is a graduate of Lecanto High School in Lecanto, Fla. After graduation, he hopes to spend a year teaching English as a second language in Malaysia before pursuing both a juris doctorate and master’s degree in public policy.

The Carnegie Mellon Junior Summer Institute is part of the 30-year-old Public Policy & International Affairs Fellowship Program. A national consortium of top public policy and international affairs graduate schools, PPIA seeks to prepare college juniors for advanced degrees and careers serving the public good. In addition to Carnegie Mellon, there are four other schools that host a summer institute, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University. For additional information, visit PPIA Program’s website.