Industrious first-years and future-minded seniors alike filled the Sanford Room for The Fourth Annual Political Science Alum Panel. At the event, five Hobart and William Smith Colleges alums who majored in political science returned to campus to discuss how they used their political science degrees with more than 40 current students.
“I studied political science at HWS because it was what interested and engaged me,” said J. Casey Dunlavey ’06, who is an account manager with PAETEC Communications in Rochester, N. Y. “But when graduation came, I didn’t quite know what I would do with it.”
Reassuring students that this is a normal process, alums explained that in addition to learning the paradigms of political science, the capacity to learn taught at HWS is just as important. “Your liberal arts education allows for you to relate and communicate,” said Ann Rollo ’87, Wells Colleges’ communication and college relations vice president. “Employers are looking for well rounded individuals with educational breadth and the analytical skills to be a multi-faceted employee.”
One of the main tenets of the alumni’s message was to let things happen in a career search. “While studying political science at HWS, I completed two internships with New York State Assemblyman Robert J. Warner,” explained panelist Joseph Leska ’01. “After trying numerous job fields since graduation, I found my niche expanding C.R. Bard, Inc.’s sale of surgical devices to trauma centers, facilitating training for new hires and business development.”
Another panelist, Joseph Sievert ’05, had a more straight-forward professional experience. “Money can always be made, but happiness cannot always be found.” Sievert said. “I walked away from a lucrative career in hazardous waste removal to capitalize on my environmental science background and work in energy efficiency toward making my hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. a more sustainable city”. Sievert now is a Multifamily Building Analyst with Buffalo Energy as a consultant for energy efficiency in both existing buildings and new construction.
Providing a general approach to the professional world, panelist Laura Peterson ’91 emphasized that, “It’s essential to simply create an environment in which people respect each other.” Peterson is the vice president and part owner of Cape Cod Aggregates Corp., a family company. “No matter what anyone does, the emphasis of their work should be on achieving fairness, respect and making the world a better place.”
With new lessons and perspectives gained on professional life after earning a political science degree at HWS, current students left the Fourth Annual Political Science Alum Panel more educated than ever on what they can do with their degree from the Colleges.
The event was sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Chi Phi branch of Pi Sigma Alpha (the national Political Science Honor Society) and the Salisbury Center for Career Services.