Nineteen graduate students participated in the La Follette School’s third career exploration visit to Chicago in October 2019. Over two days, students visited four employers and learned about career paths during a panel discussion with alumni.
Theresa Mintle (MA ’91), an interim vice chancellor at the University of Illinois Chicago, also welcomed students, faculty, and staff to an Alumni & Friends Reception at Swissotel. Mintle recounted her public service career and encouraged students to pursue their dreams.
A Chicago native, Mintle previously served as president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and as chief of staff for former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Alumni working at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), American Institutes for Research (AIR), and Euromonitor International gave brief summaries of their work and answered students’ questions.
First-year master of public affairs (MPA) student Samantha Fredrickson said, “I really appreciated the visits as I am new to this field. It was nice to see all of the career opportunities alumni are pursuing.”
Paul Schmidt, a director on GAO’s Financial Markets and Community Investment Team, welcomed students to Chicago and led the discussion. Kate Amoroso (2007), Eric Hudson (2004), Kate Nast Jones (2008), Brittani Maul (2019), Matthew Rosenberg (2003), Atiya Siddiqi (2018), and Amber Yancey Carroll (2004) shared their experiences at the nonpartisan Congressional agency, including how the La Follette School prepared them for their work.
At AIR, Ryan Eisner (MPA ’13) and Max Pardo (MPA ’17) shared details about their work and responded to students’ questions. AIR is one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations. Corey Palmer Rehorst (MPA ’08) organized the meeting with Euromonitor International, an independent provider of strategic market research. Students met with Palmer Rehorst and three of her colleagues. Chicago is the only Euromonitor International site in the United States.
The students ended their visit at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that convenes leading global voices, conducts independent research, and engages the public to provide insight and influence the discourse on critical global issues.
Four alumni also generously shared their time and offered advice during the breakfast panel discussion:
- Dan Leopold (MIPA ’03), chief of intelligence, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations
- Ciara Mentzer (MPA ’12), national director of communications, Educators for Excellence
- Michaela Meckel (MIPA ’14), manager of performance and analysis, Children’s Home + Aid
- Gen Carter (MPA ’17), consultant/policy analyst, Government Finance Officers Association.
Throughout the trip, alumni were welcoming and gave open and honest advice to students. Many highlighted the importance of networking.
“The value of networking was greatly emphasized. That encouraged me to keep exploring and reaching out to my connections,” said one student. Another student said, “I got to know how networking can make a huge difference in the job search process.”
Students also left with a better understanding of employment opportunities in Chicago, with one student saying, “I gained more of an appreciation for Chicago. I could see myself working in the downtown area.”
- written by Peter Mosher