University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Using Your Degree


Since STPEC is an interdisciplinary program, possible career opportunities for its graduates vary according to the focus of each student's program of study. Many STPEC graduates continue on to law school or to graduate study in fields such as American Studies, anthropology, counseling, economics, education, history, international relations, labor studies, political theory, public health, social work, and urban planning. Others pursue careers in social service work, teaching, community and labor union organizing, political advocacy, journalism, publishing, and government service. Possibilities for employment upon graduation are similar to those available to students graduating from any of the other departments in the social sciences.
We like to think that the possibilities are boundless. But just in case you want a more concrete answer, here are some examples of the types of work that STPEC graduates have done. This list was compiled from questionnaires that were distributed in 1984 and 1993. The number of examples under each heading does not necessarily represent the number of people in each field; the list is intended only to give you an idea of the breadth of options open to STPEC majors. We hope that this will inspire you to "dream your wildest dreams"!
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Law: Attorney (through established law firms, for governmental organizations [U.S., state and local], and in private practice); paralegal; legislative assistant; law clerk; law office manager; general counsel. This field has drawn a large percentage of our graduates. They work in areas that include labor unions, welfare rights, housing reform, women's rights, elder rights, environmental protection and land use.

Teaching and Education: Teachers of history, English, social studies, science and math (grade school and high school); Professors of Sociology, Political Science and Economics; teachers of English as a second language in the U.S., France and Mexico; teacher of mentally handicapped adults; teacher in a rehabilitation center for blind adults; Environmental Education (Horizons for Youth); founder and executive director of Nuevo Instituto de Centro America (NICA), a school in Nicaragua which teaches Spanish and Nicaraguan culture to visiting Americans; co-ordinator, El Salvador Program for the Center for Global Education (Augsburg College); assistant manager of the Council on International Educational Exchange; vice president for International Training Programs (ACDI); staff assistant in an undergraduate Women's Studies program; program manager for Puget Sound Educational Service District; teachers of yoga and gymnastics.

Social Work, Medicine, and Human Services: Psychotherapist (private practice); family and adolescent counselor; physician; case manager, Department of Mental Health; assistant to the county coordinator of human services; mental health counselor at homeless shelter; social worker at large Brooklyn city hospital (therapist for troubled inner city youth and their families); wholistic health care practitioner; public health (running health care tours to Cuba); HIV research; manager of AIDS volunteer services; physical therapist; project manager, Bureau of Family and Community Health.

Publishing and Communications: Editorial assistant; publisher at South End Press (a collectively owned and run business); reporter for a daily newspaper; desktop publishing and graphic design consultant; radio news reporter/anchorperson; freelance writer (magazine features and travel pieces); head of library technical services; public affairs director of a radio station; associate producer "New York Hotline" on WNYC public television.

Political Organizing: Field director for the Clamshell Alliance (a grassroots anti-nuclear organization); office manager for a Pro-Choice organization; community organizers (for low income families, ACORN, etc.); member of Hotline to End Rape and Abuse (HERA); union organizer; union representative.

Government Press and information officer for Israeli mission to the United Nations; regional economist and planner; special assistant to the associate commissioner of the Department of Public Welfare; research assistants (for the Massachusetts Governors Commission on Mature Industries, the U.S. House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, and for several elected officials).

Banking and Accounting Loan review associate; President, IDO (advisory services regarding international development loans); financial analyst for a student union; auditor; representative for socially responsible investment firm.

Business, Sales, and Advertising: Administrator in an advertising company; marketing manager; sales representative; owners of collective businesses such as North Valley Typesetting and Food For Thought bookstore; advertising director in a company that sells computers; products manager for a travel agency; assistant director, capital campaign for a symphony orchestra; insurance broker; manager, office services for software company; manager of a major supermarket; manager of a furniture store; career consultant.

Music, Art and Dance: Teachers of music and dance; performer (french horn); graphic designer; assistant to the director of an art museum in Boston; free-lance writer.

Technical Trades: Electronic technician (working with computers); electrical engineer; owner of modular home-building company; solar builder; carpenter; groundskeeper; wooden boat repair person; projects officer, development projects in El Salvador.

Other Odds and Ends: Warden of a Youth Hostel in New Zealand; American Sign Language interpreter for the deaf.

STILL WORRIED ABOUT "LIFE AFTER STPEC"? Come by the STPEC Office, Room E-27A Machmer Hall, for information about internships, graduate education and career opportunities. The STPEC Program especially encourages students to do internships, both as an opportunity to apply what you learn in classes and as a valuable source of work experience. (Many of our graduates report that internships were extremely helpful in "marketing" their liberal arts degrees.)  You can also go to the Career Center (even if you are not currently enrolled or have already graduated) and take advantage of the wealth of information they have there. Finally, keep your eyes open for the annual Alumni/ae Career Fair, at which STPEC graduates talk about their work and share their wisdom about the job market and how to get the most out of your STPEC degree.