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Ian James

Mr. Ian James (Class of 2009)

Biography:

Major: Political Science | Minors: History, Peace Studies, Philosophy

Undergraduate Thesis: “Revolutions in the Modern Era”

I am one of those people you hear about who wakes up in the morning and wants to go to work. I work for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, a non-profit in Boston. We combine environmental advocacy with youth/community development in a way that brings opportunities and economic development to the city of Boston that benefits everybody in the region. My role is primarily administrative but I also do creative design work for marketing materials. Outside of my career I’ve also applied my Political Science background into a board game design hobby with an upcoming game in development based on the Cold War.

Impact the University had on my career path:

I approached Fitchburg State as an opportunity to gain experiences in and out of the classroom. In terms of developing within the Political Science program I focused mainly on international studies and systems courses rather than US politics or policy courses. I reinforced the coursework with co-curricular activities in the Model United Nations and Political Science Clubs, as well as seminars on and off campus. These varied activities built a set of skills ranging from practical writing, research, and speaking skills, to the more theoretical analytical, interpersonal, and leadership skills. An amalgam of all of those areas has created a unique niche that I occupy that allows me to excel in a variety of roles where another more focused individual might struggle.

Advice for current and prospective Political Science students:

I would recommend that current students look at their education as both a career building and identity building experience. You need to spend the time identifying your interests, strengths, and weaknesses so that you have an idea how you want to apply yourself. You also need to think about what careers paths you want to consider so you can develop the tools you’ll need not only to excel in that workforce, but also to be a viable candidate to enter it. However, do not be overly focused on building yourself into a textbook example of an ideal worker in a field or fit a recruiter’s generic rubric. Innumerable other students will have formed themselves to fit that mold. Instead, focus on building a unique and valuable skillset, one that a future employer can’t find anywhere else.

When you can bring something that is both new and valuable to the table, you will a stronger asset than the generic resume that checks off all the boxes.

Finally, my motto in life is that challenges are simply opportunities for which you haven’t yet taken advantage. So go find your challenges, overcome them, and take advantage of the opportunities that result.