Alumni Advice

Political Science Hosts First Alumni Networking Event

The Political Science Alumni Association hosted its first alumni networking event in the Center for Active Citizenship on the second floor of Bey Hall on Friday, Nov. 1.

Alli Matz (’12), a corporate strategist for McKesson, a $215 billion American healthcare company in London, spearheaded the initiative to bring this event to campus.

 “I wanted to create a forum for students to learn about career paths that alumni have taken from Monmouth’s Political Science program,” she said. “I’m hopeful this initiative can help current students bridge the gap between their time at Monmouth and their early careers or ongoing academic pursuits.”

The event brought eight political science alumni under the age of 30 with careers spanning law, international finance, lobbying, technology and academia, to network with and advise current political science students.

Matz explained that the first part of the event was designed to gather feedback and encourage informal discussion. Another exercise included students writing down what they want to do after Monmouth, and what questions they have for alumni so that they could provide feedback. Alumni then broke-out into small group sessions catered to specific interests.

“Monmouth is at its best when it prioritizes students…political science thrives at Monmouth University because our students are so successful,” said Ken Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology and an Associate Professor of Political Science who worked in tandem with the group of alumni to organize the event.

Esther Wellman, a senior political science student, said that the event was insightful for everyone who attended, especially for senior students who are in the process of considering post-graduation possibilities and potential career paths after Monmouth.

“Alumni were very insightful to offer their own experiences and explain various opportunities that a political science degree from Monmouth could create,” said Wellman. “It was also insightful to hear from people who were once in my position, and since then had different career paths and yet all found success in the different areas.”

Maddy Doe, a senior political science student and Co-Captain of the University’s Debate Team attended the event and found it a rewarding experience. “It was so nice to see how alumni from the Debate Team want to keep in touch with later debaters and help us out,” Doe continued. “Attending helped to open up a whole new network of people to help me navigate the next chapter of my life.”

“What a delight to have a great group of political science alumni with us to participate in mentoring our students. That’s the Monmouth way,” said University President Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., who attended the opening session of the event to meet with students and alumni.

Miriam Peguero (’13), an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York City, proctored a session for students who are interested in attending law school after Monmouth with Arielle Giordano (’12), the Director of Federal and State Government Affairs for Canadian Pacific Railroad, one of North America’s largest freight railroads.

Students interested in graduate school, research, and academia attended a session with Sam Maynard (’14) and Chris Wolcott (’17). Maynard obtained a Masters in Political Science from Georgetown University and is now finishing his Ph.D. in Political Science at Oxford University; and Wolcott is pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Deleware.

For students interested in private sector careers, students attended a group with: Michelle Grushko (’16), a data scientist for Twitter’s Marketing Insights and Analytics team; Grant Lucking (’09, ’11), Associate Director of Government Affairs for the New Jersey Food Council and the Vice President of Environmental Affairs for the New Jersey Builders Association; Brandon Karkovice (’12), a health engagement strategist for Humana Health Insurance; and Gregory Marga (’17), a mortgage loan originator.

“One of the most positive aspects of Friday was hearing from students about the growth of some of our programs in the department, like the Debate Team traveling to India this year, and Monmouth’s success at the Model UN conference in Oxford,” said Matz. “These programs were a key part of my time at Monmouth, as well as the alums who joined on Friday, and I’m confident that these experiences will help students as they transition into their professional lives.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Brandon Karkovice