Spotlight on Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni: Emily Discenza

discName: Emily Discenza

UR Major: Economics

Other UR Majors/Minors: Italian Studies

Additional Education: Part Time Simon School Student – MS Accountancy

Current City, State of Residence: Rochester NY

Job Title: Senior Associate

Employer: KTB Capital LLC.


How did you choose your major(s)?

I mistakenly thought that “economics” was a comparative substitute to being a business major. I hear undergrads today have the option to study either; however, I’m glad I studied economics. It gave me a broader and better sense of how our society works both economically and socially.

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

I was involved in Greek life, club sports, and the study abroad program. Studying abroad was hands down one of my most valuable college experiences. I gained a very close group of friends I would not have otherwise had. You may have the opportunity later in life to travel internationally, but few of us will have the opportunity to live abroad and establish a home outside the US, so do it now!

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

Grades are important; however, I wish I would have put more emphasis on gaining professional experience while in college. Internships both during and in between semesters are key in getting the job you want after college. Get good grades, but don’t forget to balance your time studying with networking and utilizing the career center.

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

Unless you have had substantial and diverse real-world business internships, put a pin in grad school after graduation. Grad school is a huge financial and physical albeit worthwhile investment. You need to know exactly what you want to pursue before making the commitment and you really won’t know that until you experience business areas outside of the classroom.

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

Currently my position is a mix of financial reporting, investor relations, and property management for a real estate investment and management company. In five years I would like to have my MS in Accounting as well as a CMA and use those credentials to add value to a well established REIT in the city of my choice.

Spotlight on Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni: Greg Skipton

gskiptonName: Greg Skipton      

Other UR Majors/Minors: English

Additional Education: currently pursuing MBA from Ohio Dominican University

Current City, State of Residence: Columbus, OH

Job Title: Branch Administrator

Employer: AXA Advisors, LLC

Family: Kate (Cieply) Skipton – Class of 2009

Community Activities: Capriccio! Vocal Ensemble, American Wine Society – Columbus Chapter, US Master’s Swimming – Columbus Sharks


How did you choose your major(s)?

I came to college undecided. I knew I loved history and English, and my high school history teachers had told me to pursue more historical studies opportunities in college that went beyond the traditional high school text. Thus, I jumped into in-depth studies of Germany & Austria from 1800-1945, the Russian Front in WWII, and even the Samurai. I wanted to major in something I loved, and the U of R history department made that extremely easy and fun to accomplish.

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

I was involved in the Music Interest Floor for three years and served as their social chair. I also was extremely active with Off Broadway on Campus, where I got to combine my love of history and theater in a rendition of “But Mr. Adams” from 1776. I also was a member of the UR Crew and the Symphony and Chamber orchestras. My extra-curriculars brought me a wide variety of people to connect and interact with, and built friendships that have managed to stay strong in spite of distance, difference in career paths, etc. I had several OBOCians as my groomsmen, and over 30 college friends at my wedding.

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

I chose to go right into the workforce after graduation because I did not know what I wanted to continue studying.  I believe that one should not just go to school for the sake of school. Real world experience helps develop you as a person and leader, and hopefully will guide you to find what it is you truly wish to study. However, you must realize it is harder to go back to school the longer you are out, so be prepared to make a work-life balance when the time comes.

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

My first full-time job after graduation was working as the Patron Services Manager for the Syracuse Opera Company. I believe that my writing skills and conversational talents, developed through the U of R History and English Departments, truly helped land the job. It eventually grew to a Patron Services & Education Manager position, and I was able to combine my love of music and theater with my writing talents. I also got to dabble in history as we researched periods in order to accurately represent a scene.

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

Unless you know what you want to do, be willing to explore your career options. Always look for opportunities to intersperse your historical knowledge into your current field. It is easy in a field such as the arts, but even if you work in a bank or a factory, learn the history of your company. It may serve you well in the future, and may link you to some other fascinating historical events and times that you are interested in learning more about.

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

My current career is one of opportunity. I got it through great recommendations from people I already knew inside the company. It has given me an opportunity to work in the for-profit world and gain some insight into a totally different way and focus of doing business. In five years, I hope to take this knowledge and be back in the not-for-profits, hopefully helping them become a community force to be reckoned with. I also hope to continue to develop and explore my love for history by continuing to expose myself to the things that the areas I live in have to offer.

Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Mary O’Brien

o'brienName: Mary O’Brien

Occupation: Communications

Education (UR and additional): BA (English/Minor in Journalism), University of Rochester, 2003; MBA, University at Albany – SUNY, 2009

Current city/state of residence: Slingerlands, NY


Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

Rush Rhees Library and awesome financial aid.

When and how did you choose your major?

I entered U of R as a biology (pre-med) major. It took me three semesters to be positive it wasn’t for me. It was a difficult decision, and one that I wish I’d made before that unfortunate grade in organic chemistry, but I ultimately became an english major. While still headstrong and committed to bio, I received encouragement from Professor David Bleich – he was right. I looked forward to my English classes while dreading long hours in lab. Listen to yourself. I also got a journalism minor. (Memmott – I use the inverted pyramid on a daily basis – thanks!)

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

I was active in my sorority, Delta Gamma, as well as the Panhellenic Association. My time in DG taught me about loyalty and philanthropy, as well as time management. I also made incredible friends. As President of Panhel, I had direct contact with administrators, practiced dreaded public speaking, learned about crisis management, and gained leadership experience – all critical skills in the workplace. I also spent a lot of time at Pellegrino’s and watching Sex and the City DVDs – thank you Anderson 740 & Fairchild 410.

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

Immediately after graduation I returned to Albany and went back to my summer job at the New York Summer School of the Arts.  I was able to keep working there until I started my first “real job” in January as an Editorial Assistant at a publishing company. I worked at the publishing company for several years ending my time there as a Product Manager working on products for the professional health care market.

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

I currently work in the corporate communications office of a health care system – the perfect place for a former pre-med English major with an MBA. Several of my jobs led me to my current position including my time in health care publishing and a two year stint in the University Health Promotion office. I get to write and edit, contribute to committees, interact with vendors, clinicians, and the community. Every day can be different from the last which keeps things interesting.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

Know what is most important to you and define your version of success accordingly. I’ve had different priorities at different times since graduation – work, family, grad school, relationships – and as they change you have to make adjustments.

How are you still connected with the University?

I am a UR Involved volunteer. I have enjoyed meeting with prospective students, making congratulatory phone calls, and meeting other alumni and parents. I was on our five- and 10-year reunion planning committees. I have been to very fortunate to stay in touch with friends and return to campus several times over the years.

Spotlight on Humanities and Natural Sciences Alumni: Katie Hiler

hilerName: Kathryn Hiler

Occupation: Graduate Student

Education (UR and additional): (’09) B.A in Brain and Cognitive Science; B.A in English Literature

Current city/state/country of residence: New York, NY


When and how did you choose your major(s)?

By the spring semester of my freshman year I was pretty sure I would major in BCS. I was in BCS 172 with Elissa Newport and was really drawn to the study of the developing brain. I was also taking English classes, about one a semester. I love to read and I would choose the class based on what books were going to be on the syllabus. I didn’t take this interest seriously until I had racked up enough courses to fulfill an English minor, and had no interest in stopping. I was headed towards getting a second major in English, which is what I did. 

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

When it came time to consider what I would do after college, I found the career center to be extremely helpful. They were very knowledgeable about everything – from practical resume and cover letter stuff, to how to translate your interests into a job you will like. I still use the resume format the counselor at the career center gave me and I always take their advice of “start early and be prepared” whenever I am applying to something. They are really an incredibly helpful resource, so don’t be afraid to use them!

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

I was lucky enough to get a job right after graduation. I was already thinking about my next steps beginning in January of my senior year. I was looking for jobs at publishing houses and found what I thought was the perfect position at an academic publisher for an editorial assistant in the behavioral sciences department. I applied for the job, but was told that, while I was a good candidate for the position, they needed someone sooner, and I wouldn’t be graduating until May (it was February). I was crushed, but I waited until April and applied again to a different position at the same company. This time I got to say “Remember me?” and I was accepted right away for an interview. I definitely believe applying early and getting turned down helped me get that position.

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

I’m currently working towards getting my masters in science journalism with NYU’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. I left Rochester with degrees in BCS and English and I thought I wanted to work in academic publishing. But after working in that field for a while I realized there was an even better way to merge my interests in science and writing – by becoming a science journalist. I ended up working in publishing for three years and then applied to NYU’s science journalism program. 

Where would you like to be in five years?

Ideally I would like to be a science reporter for a public radio station somewhere in the United States.

What advice do you have for current students?

My advice to current students would be to think outside of the box when it comes to figuring out what to do with your major(s). When I was considering what to do after graduation only the most obvious option stuck out at me – go to grad school and become a researcher. It took some time before I thought of going in to academic publishing, and science journalism after that. There are so many things you can do with your degree. Don’t let someone tell you an English degree is useless or that the only option you have in science is research.

Spotlight on Humanities and Natural Sciences Alumni: Allison Goldstein

agoldsteinName: Allison Goldstein

Occupation: Marketing

Education (UR and additional): BA: English, Brain & Cognitive Science

Current city/state/country of residence: Jersey City, NJ

Current Community activities: Jersey City Writers Group, Gotham City Runners


Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I was drawn to the flexibility of the curriculum. I didn’t quite know whether I would major in English or something in the sciences—as it turned out, I was able to do both!—so I wanted the ability to explore lots of subjects before making my decision. University of Rochester’s curriculum gave me that freedom.

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

I knew from the outset that I would major in English, but I was also interested in science, particularly in Biology. However, after my first full semester of hearing from both students and the professor himself that introductory Biology classes were designed to weed out anyone who wasn’t going on to med school, I shifted my plan and decided to try a cluster in Brain & Cognitive Science. As it turned out, I loved those courses so much, I ended up double-majoring!

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

Immediately after graduation, I accepted an internship with This Old House Magazine and moved to New York City. Time Inc, the parent company, was undergoing a hiring freeze, so I applied to other publishing companies around the city until ultimately, I was hired at Wiley as an editorial assistant, working on neuroscience journals.

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

I am currently an Associate Marketing Manager at Wiley. I market life science books, which are mostly monographs written by scientists for scientists, with a few lower-level textbooks and “science self help” books thrown into the mix. I chose to move from an editorial job working on scientific journals to a marketing job working on books because there is a certain “sameness” to working on academic journals that gets a little monotonous. A books frontlist changes every year, with new books publishing every month, so it is a more interesting and dynamic product to work on.

How you are still connected with the University?

I donate my time, rather than my money, in order to give back to the University of Rochester. Over the last two years, I have volunteered to conduct alumni interviews with prospective students during recruitment season. This gives me the opportunity to help both prospective students and also to promote the University of Rochester. I also participate in most other “networking” opportunities—like this one!—that can help prospective and enrolled students make choices about the future.

What advice do you have for current students?

If you have the chance to study abroad, take it. Studying at the University of Sussex for 6 months was probably my favorite experience in all 4 of my years as an undergraduate. You will learn so much about yourself as a person that you simply cannot learn while living on the same college campus in the same country where you grew up. I have never met one person who regrets their time abroad.

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 Humanities and Natural Sciences Alumni: Leah Kaminsky

defaultName: Leah Kaminsky

Occupation: Writer and Writing Coach

Education (UR and additional): UR: Double major in BCS and English (Creative Writing)

Current city/state/country of residence: Austin, TX

Current Community activities: None right now

 


 Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I liked the idea of attending a small university, where I could contribute to extracurricular activities without having to compete, have easy access to professors, and have research opportunities while still enjoying the benefits of a top research university. That’s a very rare combination in a college.

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

I actually knew what I wanted to do before I entered college, though I was still unclear about my profession. I’d been a writer my whole life, so that was a given, and I’d developed an interest in the brain in my junior year of high school. I knew, however, that I didn’t want to be a doctor and that a full-on neuroscience degree would keep me too busy to double major and study abroad. Plus, I loved the idea of a major that was somewhat between psychology and neuroscience, though I didn’t quite realize how much its own field BCS really is (something I really appreciated once I did).

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

I definitely took advantage of professor and TA office hours, which allowed me really to make the most of the toughest classes. I also made full use of the Career Center, and applied for and received a Reach Scholarship, which allowed me to intern at a literary agency in New York—an experience that now, a decade later, has paid off, as I received some guidance from one of the agents there in trying to sell my book. I also really enjoyed the Study Abroad office, as it helped open my mind about overseas possibilities even after I returned from my semester abroad.

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

I had a humor column in the campus newspaper, which I really enjoyed and which taught me a lot about working with other creatives on a team. I was in the cinema group, which was more just a lot of fun than anything else…something I needed for sure.

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

I took several creative writing classes from Dimitri Anastasopoulos, who also was my thesis advisor, and he provided really honest feedback and guidance that I still haven’t forgotten. Also in the English department, I really benefited from Russell Peck’s courses and his feedback on my papers, and he wrote me several letters of recommendation for grad school; he really taught me what it means to be passionate about your career. In the BCS department, I loved working with Professor Knill, who pushed me harder and further than I ever thought I could go, yet never left me feeling like I was out there on my own. Working on papers for his course was one of the first glimpses I had of what it might mean to work on a research team with a shared goal. And of course, Dr. Richard Aslin was tremendously influential, employing me as a research assistant in his lab throughout all four years of college, and helping me find placement in a lab in London when I graduated. Dr. Aslin always made sure to sit all of his research assistants down to see what he could do to guide us in our careers. Though I didn’t wind up going into BCS professionally, I really benefited from this kind of guidance. I haven’t talked to any of them in years, though I’d love to. 

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

While I applied to grad school in Journalism and Creative Writing, I headed back to London (where I studied abroad) and worked in an infant perception lab (thanks to Dr. Aslin’s connection there). After 5 months, I left London and traveled around Europe, Asia and Australasia for 7 months. Then, I made the choice to go for my MFA in Fiction Writing at the University of Washington rather than my degree in journalism. Upon receiving my MFA, I started my own tutoring business in Seattle, which I ran for 2 years.

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

Now I’m a freelance writer, specializing in content writing, white papers, expertise blogging, and web and ad copywriting. I had been dabbling in this kind of work as a tutor, but it took moving away from Seattle to Austin and testing my talents out at TEDxAustin to fully make the switch, as I was really drained from tutoring and didn’t want to start a new business again. The freelance writing grew organically as I got more and more referrals and began to work alongside SEO consultants. I still also coach students online through my business, Just Start Storytelling, as I help them apply to college and graduate school. I also work directly with business owners to write their stories online. I’m still writing and publishing fiction stories, and I’m shopping my first book.

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

Despite the fact that they’re in totally different disciplines, I would say that both of my majors taught me how to think. As someone who hires writers now, I can say that I look not for their degrees, but for the kind of deep, analytical thinking and fun, creative voice that can really dig deep, do some hard hitting analysis, and communicate high level concepts in a concrete, fun tone. In my experience, this stems directly from majors like English and BCS, which foster curiosity, creative risk taking, and analytical rigger, as opposed to courses that promote safe, outcome-based methodologies. They also taught me to question and dig endlessly for answers, without fear of being impolite. Of course, both of my majors helped me understand how to deal with massive workloads and pace my time, while also balancing a real life—something I’ve found crucial in the work world.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I’m in the midst of transitioning my business into something more product based, so I’d like for that to be off the ground. I’d also like to be a published fiction novelist, with another middle grade book under my belt and my first pop science book well under way.

How you are still connected with the University?

Mostly through my best friends.

What is your fondest memory of the University?

I remember talking to a friend once in the campus bookstore about how stressed out I was and how I couldn’t wait for the semester to be over, only to be overheard by an alumni, who told us with a nostalgic grin that we should appreciate what we had, because it would only last so long. I found the advice annoying at the time, because college *was* stressful, despite all of the Animal House-type stereotypes. However, now that I’ve been in the workworld for a number of years, I do really miss the idea of taking a class focused narrowly on one subject, and delving deep, just for the pure joy of thinking and debating and wondering (and, okay, grades too, which was where the stress came in, but roll with me here…). Despite the fact that I’m in an intellectual career, there’s always money to be made, deadlines to meet, and a sense of urgency that often overwhelms that sense of wonder, and turns me away from delving deeper. I do make time for that, but it’s all up to me to carve it up, and I miss having partners in that inquiry. So I suppose my fondest memory of the University is thinking…really thinking, just to think. Oh and study abroad, which really changed my life and made me embrace the kind of risk taking that has helped me follow my passions career-wise and travel the world.

What advice do you have for current students?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s the opportunity to lead an extracurricular club, a study abroad experience, a research assistantship, or a one-on-one meeting with a world class professor to really get it right. I know I sound so adult and cliché when I say this, but college really does only come once and you’re paying a ton of money for it, so make the most of it while you can. It’ll be over in a flash, and the rate at which time passes increases exponentially as you age.

 

Spotlight on Humanities and Natural Sciences Alumni: Dan Richman

richmanName: Dan Richman ’08

Occupation: Graduate student (Johns Hopkins University)

Education (UR and additional): BS (Physics), BA (Music & Mathematics), University of Rochester, 2008

Current city/state of residence: Baltimore, Maryland

Family: Dad is UR 1970 (BS Chemistry), 1975 (PhD Chemistry)

Community activities: Outreach activities in physics and astrobiology


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

Use the libraries! Browse the stacks, in all subject areas, and read a little from books that grab your attention. Move nimbly through this ocean. You can do this as small breaks from your work. And take advantage of the CDs in the Art and Music Library.

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

I went immediately to grad school. I knew before college that I wanted a physics PhD–I wanted that depth of engagement with the subject–but at the end of undergrad it wasn’t clear what specialization I’d pursue. I leaned toward astrophysics, but I knew I should keep options open, so I chose another joint physics-astronomy department like UR’s. Even before I started my first year at Hopkins I started to pursue options in biophysics.

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

I realized that “structure in the universe” applied to biology as much as it did to astrophysics, and I started to inquire around Hopkins for opportunities to combine physics and biology. Turns out it’s a big area, and I got involved in a multidisciplinary training program. My consistent interest in fundamental principles and intricate form and motion led me finally to the protein science lab I currently work in.

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

In venturing outward from physics into realms of biology and chemistry, all of my basic physics training has been crucial to quickly learn new fields. Statistical mechanics is my bread-and-butter in the land of proteins, and familiarity with quantum mechanics and electromagnetism has let me get deeply into the NMR spectroscopy I use to study proteins.

How do you balance your work and your personal life?

Discipline and flexibility together. When I walk over to campus to spend the day I focus on the work of experiments, data analysis, studying literature, and having conversations about science, but I’m flexible about switching among these things on a whim, to follow my mood or curiosity. I try to protect my evenings so I can run, cook dinner with my girlfriend, and enjoy interests such as music. It’s not strict compartmentalization, just being focused, organized, and nimble.

Where would you like to be in five years?

Doing fundamental research in protein design as a post-doc and starting or joining a company based on designing proteins for pharmaceutical or industrial use, and possibly pursuing this in parallel with or instead of an academic career.

Spotlight on Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni: Nicole St. James

stjamesName: Nicole St. James

UR Major:  History

Other UR Majors/Minors: English Literature major

Current City, State of Residence: Syracuse, NY

Job Title: Project Coordinator for Syracuse and SUNY ESF

Employer: New York Public Interest Research Group

Community Activities: joined a local alumni chapter of my sorority


How did you choose your major(s)?

Without explaining my entire history of switching majors numerous times, suffice it to say that thanks to UR’s open curriculum I was able to combine my interest in history with a knack for writing into a double major. It happened by chance really, when I realized I had completed more than half of those major requirements without exactly trying to do so.

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

I was an athlete for a short time, a member of a sorority, some philanthropic clubs like Amnesty International, and also Class Council. It was Class Council that really helped me find my interest in politics that resulted in my current job.

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

Successful interns are proactive and do not need to ask questions about what to complete next. They should understand their role in the company/organization and not need to report to someone every half hour with a concern. I learned this while studying abroad and it has really helped shaped my professionalism.

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

I believe this decision is different for every person based on their current academic and/or financial situations. Some students just need a break from academia for a while, which is fine. Others would prefer to continue onwards right away – also just fine.

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

My first job was directing the Rochester Outreach office for NYPIRG this summer. This transitioned me straight into the campus position I have now within the same organization. I believe Class Council, having planned Senior Week and also speaking with administrators regularly, helped me secure the activist-minded skills for these positions.

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

A vast majority of history majors do not anticipate becoming historians for their career. If you are one of those, as I was, I suggest focusing your career interests into your extracurricular activity time. That was how I found my interest in the environment and political change. Stay active, read often.

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.