The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Students Consider "Life After UMass"

On February 13, 2013, the Department of Political Science welcomed seven alumni back to campus to participate in the speed-networking event, Life After UMass: Careers in Political Science and Legal Studies.

“Political Science and Legal Studies prepare students for a wide variety of careers,” says Brian Schaffner, Department Chair. “The Department wanted to showcase the plethora of opportunities for our students and provide specific examples of how the skills students learn in our classes translate into exciting careers.”

Modeled after the successful “Meet the Law” campus networking events, alumni were stationed at a table for the evening while groups of students rotated from table to table, alum to alum, for about 10 minutes of conversation each.

“Although the time goes by quickly with this format,” says Professor Schaffner, “the speed-networking model has been quite successful. Students get to meet more alums, practice their ‘elevator pitches’ and learn to prioritize the questions that matter most to them.”

For example, Meryl Schneider ’14, used the evening to explore graduate school options: “As a peer advisor, I am often asked about graduate school – and it is something I question myself,” he says. “Should we go directly to grad or law school? Every alum stressed that they regretted not going directly into graduate school, though many had eventually gone later in life.”

Nick Caezza ’13, a dual Legal Studies and Political Science major, was interested in exploring opportunities beyond law: “Many of us tend to assume we must enter into the legal field upon graduation, whether it is by attending law school or some other career in law--but I learned that this is simply not the case,” she said.

Indeed, Caezza summed the evening nicely: “The future is often a frightening idea to college students, but meeting successful alumni with our major alleviated at least a little bit of the anxiety for all present-- it demonstrated that there truly are endless possibilities on the road to success!”

Alumni participants represented successful careers in management, finance, politics, communications, and librarianship. They included Mary Flanders Aicardi '86 (Political Science), '91G (Public Policy), Associate, Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management, UMass Boston; Christopher Davies '89 (Legal Studies), Vice President, Bartholomew and Company; Matthew Irish '95 (Political Science, History), Senior Vice President, O'Neill and Associates; Jim Leydon '02 (Political Science), Communications Director, City of Springfield, MA; Patrick Meaney '09 (Legal Studies), Consultant, Complex Claims Group, The Hartford Financial Services; Matthew Pacheco '01 (Political Science, Economics), Finance Director, Re-Elect McGovern Committee; and Sharon Sharry '93 (Political Science), Library Director, Jones Library.

Alumni interested in participating in future networking events should contact Michelle Gonçalves at

News Type: 

  • Student News