What They Have To Say

What impact did Politics have on your post-MHC studies, life, profession, or activism?

Ifeoma Aduba, Class of 1995

Find your passion and pursue that! The politics major at MHC gave me a lot of room to explore my passion for social justice. Coupled with my Masters in Nonprofit Management, I have made an extremely rewarding life and career for myself creating social change through the nonprofit/community benefit sector.

Sophia Apostola, Class of 2004

Internships and getting real world experience is extremely important when applying for jobs after graduation.  Networking and keeping in contact with connections is also extremely important when finding a job.  When in a job trust your gut, if something does not feel right speak your mind and do not let yourself get pressured into something.

Kathryn (Weiss) Beurer, Class of 1986

Well, as a Poli Sci major who never went into any kind of political science, my best advice for students is to master the art of salesmanship, public speaking and writing a convincing letter/proposal. These are invaluable skills that are transferrable into any career area. I mastered these skills while at MHC and proceeded to talk and/or write my way into virtually every job for the next 15 years...!

Abigail Collazo, 2006

If students are interested in entering the political world professionally, an internship on Capitol Hill is invaluable in terms of checking off a box on a resume that is required for many positions. As well, working on a political campaign - even at the most entry level - provides credibility with the political elite as it proves a student is willing to work out in the field to get the job done.

Judith Frank, Class of 2010

Embrace the idea that an area of work or study that you've never heard of could end up being an ideal match.

Shannon Giordano, Class of 1991

My honest advice is that you don't have to know what you want to do right out of Mount Holyoke. There are so many paths and MHC sets us up incredibly well for any/all!

Tami Gouveia, Class of 1996

Building your network is critically important. Be the first one to speak up in a meeting (if you have something to contribute...if you don't, find something to contribute/be of value)

Johanne Hawk, Class of 1989

Find something that you have a passion about….when you are passionate about your work, it’s amazing!

Kathleen Hicks, Class of 1991

Follow your passion, learn the art of leadership, be open to continual learning throughout your career, and work to be a strong communicator in person and on paper.

Karen Hopper, Class of 2006

Keep your expenses low so you can take the opportunities you really care about without worrying about money. Real life is both more expensive and not as bad as you think. Make use of your resources (family, alumnae, friends, strangers on the bus). Don't get talked out of doing the thing you really want to do. If you've got health or depression or whatever issues, get them taken care of now while you've got your parents' or university health insurance. And the secret to a happy life is inexpensive hobbies.

Lori Hendricks, Class of 1992

Work hard. Volunteer for opportunities. Work hard :)

Lily Jampol, Class of 2006

Don't avoid the scary or challenging things in your academic career. They often end up teaching you the most about yourself and provide you with useful tools to effect change. I avoided both math and science as much as possible because I thought I would be bad at them and they terrified me, and lo and behold I ended up in a quantitative, science-driven career - and I love it!

Pamela Jordan, Class of 1987

Try to do an internship between your junior and
senior years.  My internship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, at that time helped lay the groundwork for my future work inside and outside of academe. I made contacts with people there who helped me further my career. In your classes at MHC, focus your energy on learning how to research and write well. These skills will be vital to your future in any profession you choose. Socializing and networking are important too, but be sure to take advantage of the academic resources you have while you're at MHC.

Jennet Kirkpatrick, Class of 1992

Remember that children's story The Giving Tree? The education I received in the Politics Department at Mount Holyoke was like that tree: it keeps on giving in unexpected and astonishing ways. The Politics faculty changed the way I comprehend and analyze the political world, and they provided an excellent preparation for doctoral study in Political Science.

Judith (Judy) Lipham, Class of 1992

Politics is a study of power -- who has it, who wants it, how to apply pressure in a given system to get your task accomplished. You can apply this to any level - Federal, State, local....and work for the betterment of your part of the world. It is a great area of study for MHC students, who want to do their part to improve the world!

Teresa Mastrangelo, Class of 1984

Take the opportunity to do international work, especially in the private sector focused on partnerships with the public sector and public service

 Consuelo Nelson Grier, Class of 2010

Always follow your interests. It will make your studies and your career pursuits more meaningful. The broad spectrum of courses available at MHC will allow you to study a wide array of subjects. Each time you try something new, embrace the experience and think about how and why the subject or experience is or can be meaningful to you, your community, your life.

Rachelle Palmer, Class of 2004

1) Do internships!!!
2) Be persistent
3) Be willing to travel
4) Learn to use tools. Word, powerpoint, excel, photoshop. Basically everyone says they are a "good communicator"... having solid knowledge of the tools that will help you get work done gives you an edge.

Susan Park (Krakower), Class of 1979

The strength of the professors in the Department was one of the major reasons I chose Politics as my major. In particular, Chris Pyle played a significant role in my career path. He suggested a senior thesis topic which led directly to a position with a Senate Committee right after I graduated from MHC, and ultimately led to an almost twenty year career with the Justice Department after I graduated from law school. Professors who can spark this type of interest in their students are one of the most valuable parts of the MHC experience.

Willa Perlmutter, Class of 1980

Don't confuse "major" with "career," don't confuse "career" with "life," and don't think that the decisions you make today will lock you onto the path you will be on for the rest of your life. Study what you love and what interests you, now and after you've graduated. Be interested in everything.

Genevieve (Davila) Plumadore, Class of 2003

The politics major really does encompass many facets. I would encourage students to either find their niche in the department or to branch out and take classes on topics that they would not be interested in otherwise.

Trishna Rana, Class of 2010

As a politics major and more generally as a liberal arts graduate the possibility is endless. I worked as an English language teacher in Bangladesh for a year and then moved back to Nepal and started working as a desk editor and was eventually promoted to an editor of an English language weekly newspaper in Kathmandu. Although I wasn't 'trained' in either fields, the strong writing and researching skills that I developed at Mount Holyoke really went a long way. However, what I am beginning to realise is that with a Bachelor's degree in Politics I can only go so far in terms of career level and also salary. All the jobs that I am interested in applying for - mostly in the field of development - require a masters at the least.

Rachel Richards, Class of 1986

I am a huge advocate for public service and strongly suggest that you think about employment opportunities within a state or federal government agency. In my experience, you can quickly gain significant responsibilities and expertise, and nothing beats doing work that makes a difference! Don't under-estimate the value of the knowledge you have about the ways in which the branches of governments and bureaucracies make decisions. Gained experience and skills are directly transferable to the private sector.

Susan Sheehan (Fisch), Class of 1981

MHC teaches you to think.  You will graduate knowing how to read, write and speak in ways the educate and illuminate and cause others to ruminate (not to mention illiterate!).  The world thus becomes your oyster whether you get into that first choice seminar or get an A once you are in it.  Learn.  Learn everything you can in and out of the classroom and you will be well prepared for whatever life brings you.

Shannon Stewart, Class of 1987

As a freshman and sophomore, take courses in several areas of study. Don't narrow yourself too early. The courses that you love attending, love the material presented, and you do well in are possible majors. Take a broad perspective and realize that college is a unique period of life when you get to focus in on academics. Challenge yourself. Don't be afraid of writing a Thesis - you may love delving into an area.

Rachel Uris, Class of 1991

More and more you're being told you need to prepare for a career right away, but honestly very few of you will know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, so don't stress out the way everyone seems to think you should. Enjoy college. Explore. And you'll be privileged in the marketplace because of your degree and your connection with alumnae; it's worth it to network to help you find your way.

Jennifer van Dijk, Class of 1998

A political science focus at MHC gave me the foundation to understand everything happening in global politics today and the right critical thinking skills to be a leader in my field.

Wendy Ritch, Class of 1990

Be flexible and open to all possibilities.  I knew that I wanted to build a career in academia but I never considered being an administrator until my dean asked me to give it a try.  It's been almost five years and I love what I do.

Julie Ybarra, Class of 1990

I have no regrets about my liberal arts education, but the "real world" may not; so, be ready to get a "vocational" degree.  (I got an MBA.)  Having said that, I believe the MHC Career Services has made huge strides helping alumna get "competitive" first jobs. Be tenacious.  It's a tough world out there. Have fun and a sense of humor.