Merrill 50F: Merrill Alumni Careers in Public Service

Spring 2021
Worth 2 units

Merrill alumni have frequently chosen careers in public service—careers dedicated to making positive change. Among other pathways, Merrill alumni have worked in advocacy organizations and organizations focused on broadening access to health care, education, legal service; in entrepreneurial social change; in investigative journalism; in public office. These career paths are tied to the Merrill ethos: knowledge of and active engagement with the larger world.

This class offers Merrill students a chance to talk shop with alumni with careers in public service. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from successful alumni about how they found their career paths, what skills they needed to develop, what twists and turns their paths took along the way. Our speakers will give advice based on their experiences and answer your questions.  Weekly reading assignments related to the speakers or their chosen fields will help you better understand how these careers play out; readings will also include a text that addresses the equally pressing question of why people choose such careers.

In addition to learning about a number of different public service careers and what it takes to succeed in them, you will also learn some requisites of professional success: researching job prospects, researching in advance of informational calls, developing appropriate and effective questions, taking and transcribing accurate interview notes, and effectively presenting your findings (in this case, in the form of a potentially publishable oral history). The course will also provide some guidance in some other key elements of professional success: networking, presenting yourself professionally, preparing for conversations, treating others graciously, expressing thanks, the importance of follow-up.

Check us out in the course catalog under the department of "Merrill" in the class search!