What your main reason for going to college? Probably to get a job, right? And the goal is to do what you love, is it not?
Peter Iwanowicz, a Siena grad, does what he loves and admits that he would be nowhere without his education from the Liberal Arts School at Siena! In his senior year he was offered a job right after graduation for the American Lung Association, and as a psych major he took it without a question.
So, no, I did not know what a lobbyist was when I first heard it. So just in case you don’t either, his job is to provide his clients with political and public policy advice that has been gained either by personal contacts, political intelligence, or from any media source. As a lobbyist you have to be very sociable and be well grounded in what exactly you are fighting for.
The peculiar thing was Peter started at Siena as Biology major; he took chemistry classes and calculus. He was ready to be a scientist until he took his psychology requirement (every student must take the liberal arts requirements- psych 101 being one of them) and fell in love with it. Between his vast knowledge in psychology and his experience in biology, Peter’s success was legendary. Even Peter admitted that none of the other schools at Siena except liberal arts could offer such broad opportunities for education that tend to pay off without even realizing.
Later he moved on to work for the Climate Office and work on Public Health Policies. With a combination of his experiences at the American Lung Association and his education and experiences at Siena, he advanced to a position so high that he was working with state governors. (Side note, he was at a meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger…)
By the end of his journey, he landed right back in the American Lung Association. It was because of the connections he had made while being there that when he needed a job; he knew exactly who to go to and what to ask. He made a point to tell the audience the importance of sustaining relationships. It was his sustained relationships that kept him going on his career journey. His journey taught me that life genuinely does take you everywhere. The only way to stay prepared is to stay educated and stay true to your beliefs.
In one of his projects for the American Lung Association, he was fighting to reduce carbon pollution and working on the RGGI, an attempt to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. His biological background told him to go about this by advocating the statistics, and how chemically pollution affects one’s health and the environment but the psychology background in him wanted to go strictly based on the mental/emotional effects pollution could cause. The school of liberal arts in him decided to go the happy medium route and take a little part of each and create a heart wrenching, yet educational, campaign.
He, of all people, understood how smog makes people sick and die. But in order to get the public to understand and get involved he needed to, as he worded it, “boil it down.” He told stories of a man who had gone through two lung surgeries already, and a father who lost his child to an asthma attack. With the right facts and the right home hitting points, Peter accomplished exactly what he wanted to accomplish. He “boiled it down” to the basics; pollution from greenhouse gases makes your loved ones sick because it destroys their lungs. Anyone could understand that.
The school of liberal arts taught him to think critically, which has paid off more than anything else. He learned how to analyze and evaluate information gathered through observation, and experience in the Lung Association and the Governor’s office and turned that information into a successful campaign. Or in his words, “boil it down.” This ability to think critically about every task at hand is why Peter continues to get job offers. He concluded his lecture with informing the audience that his company is hiring and they are looking for people that can write, people with the ability to think creatively along with critically. People like those in the school of Liberal Arts. Not all businesses looking to hire are only looking for business majors. Not all science and health corporations are only looking for biology majors. Places looking to hire are looking for the qualities taught in the school of liberal arts in the people their interviewing.
So why do you go to college? To gain such a broad education that no matter what it is you do, you will have learned the skills to think critically and you will have more than just one particular direction of thinking. It is within the School of Liberal Arts courses that you gain these skills that help you find what you love and encourage you to run with it, just as Peter Iwanowicz did.