You could say that my career path has been anything but traditional. Many people with a government degree from William & Mary pursue advanced degrees or go on to work for the local, state or federal government. Instead, I got my start at Intuit, a business and financial software company where I did customer service and mobile app development. While my role at Intuit had nothing to do with my degree, my liberal arts background helped me understand not just how to do my job, but how to think critically and analyze situations while working in customer service and on accounting issues.
When I moved to Washington, D.C., I took a job at a non-profit that hired me because of the accounting skills I developed at Intuit. I then parlayed all of my skills into a position where I went from office assistant to managing operations for the organization and creating a development structure from scratch. All of those skills helped me get my job as the Foundation Relations Coordinator for PICO National Network.
In my current role, I can focus on supporting issues that are personally important to me. PICO, soon to be Faith in Action, is dedicated to achieving racial and economic justice by organizing people of faith to transform unjust systems and policies. This work, based on engaging people in public life and supporting local leadership, is necessary, especially when working on critical issues like immigration reform, ending mass criminalization and supporting economic dignity efforts throughout the country.
My liberal arts education has helped me to analyze issues and not just answer questions, but also think about the reasoning behind my answers. It also helped me realize that I wanted a career that had a distinct and direct impact on communities and issues that are valuable to me. My feelings on the importance of community and caring for others are a result of my childhood and the tremendous growth that I experienced while I was a student at William & Mary.
The demands and needs of today should push us to fight for our passions and improve our environment. To do this we need to start viewing education as not just a means to an end, but as a catalyst that allows us to endeavor to pursue our interests and passions. A liberal arts education helps you to unlock, analyze and reflect in a way that enables you to make a difference.