Public Policy career night brings alumni and students together

By Campbell North

On Thursday Feb. 25, the Public Policy and Law program hosted its second annual Career Night to provide information and support students in the job search process, networking and career planning as summer internship and job application deadlines dawn on students.

Dr. Barry Feldman, visiting associate professor of public policy in the undergraduate and graduate program, helped to organize and run the event which was open to both undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in the major. “As students begin their job search, they need to meet and network with professionals in their career field,” said Dr. Felman, “Career Night introduces students to practitioners who can help them with their job search.”

“Events such as Career Night help students start building networks with each other,” said Dr. Feldman, when addressing the mutual benefit undergraduate and graduate students share by networking with one another. “The contacts made and developed during a student’s undergraduate or graduate studies are important. At some point, they may help ​students in networking, career contacts and job placement.”

After a half hour of informal socializing and light refreshments, the three-person panel, comprised of experts in various public policy and law fields, opened the event. The panelists answered questions regarding their personal experiences in the field of public policy, as well as what they look for in potential employees and internship candidates.

The three members of the panel spanned a wide array of different fields in public policy from the private to the public sector.

The youngest  member of the panel, Jackie Iacovazzi ’15, is a recent graduate of Trinity who works in the private sector managing the daily operations of the state government relations at United Technologies (UTC). The next panelist was Dr. Ellen Andrews, who works in the public sector as the Executive Director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project, which publishes issue briefs and conducts research on Connecticut health policy issues. The final panelist was Annemarie Remier, Director of the Nonprofit Support Program of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The three panelists addressed the variety of career options open to students pursuing a public policy and law degree. They agreed that while this variety may be somewhat intimidating to students and recent graduates who are overwhelmed by the options when entering the working world, it is ultimately beneficial. This variety lends itself to allowing students to transition between waxing and waning fields.

For example, Dr. Andrews explained that the field of health policy is booming and continues to grow while Ms. Iacovazzi believes that the private sector might be reaching a plateau of growth. However, all agreed that having a base background knowledge and some real-world experience in the way public policy operates is the key that allows students to explore different options when starting their careers.

The panel also explained the importance of resumes and cover letters. “As a potential employer, I want to see that you have had a real world experience in the field,” said Dr. Andrews. “It is also very important to tailor your resume and cover letter exactly to the job that you are applying for, know what your employers want and how you can show them that your qualifications line up with that.”

The topic of networking was included in the evening’s discussion. Ms. Iacovazzi’s experience was particularly relevant to that topic, since she is a recent Trinity graduate who just entered the current job market. “One of the biggest things I realized in my job search is how willing other alumni are to pay the favor forward and help students find internships or jobs since they had someone help them when they first started out,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in fields you are interested in, you never know what could happen.”

The Public Policy and Law program plans to continue hosting annual Career Nights to help other Trinity students reach similar benefits and forge connections with their fellow peers, perpetuating the continual growth of the alumni network.  “I think whenever you have the chance to get advice from people who currently work in policy making and advocacy, it’s extremely beneficial,” said Clara Abramson ’17. “It can be hard to create relationships with people high up in an organization and find time to speak with them.”