An Informational Interview with Catherine Elliott

Why did you choose public affairs?

Catherine says, though she initially, “had nonprofit management as [her] minor,” she decided to make it her major because she, “enjoyed those classes more than [her] business major courses,” which was her initial major at OSU. She says also felt the college’s focus on “community and service,” aligned more with what she wanted to study.

What was your specialization and why did you choose it?

Catherine’s specialization within the Public Affairs major was nonprofit management. She knew she wanted to, “work hard for a specific cause,” and was not interested in working for the government, which was the focus of many of the other specializations at the time. She took, “one nonprofit class for [her] minor, and… loved it”.

What are you doing now that you have graduated?

Catherine is now, “working in finance at a bank… in Columbus,” more regarding her business minor. However, she would love to, “merge [her] interests in business and nonprofits in the future,” possibly in economic development or consulting.

What kinds of extracurricular opportunities did you have in public affairs?

Catherine took part in the Washington Academic Internship Program. She, “interned with two nonprofits in DC one summer,” while also taking classes and networking through the program.

What was it like working with the faculty in public affairs?

Catherine says the faculty were, “one of [her] favorites parts about being a public affairs major”. She says the professors were, “intelligent and passionate,” and that she really loved the professors she worked with.

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I found Catherine through the senior bank on OSU’s website, and chose to interview due to my interest in Public Affairs as a major and her being a graduate of the program.

To be honest, This interview makes me think about what I really want from the major. Though I know I have an interest in working with nonprofit groups, I am not sure I would want to work with them in the capacity that the public affairs major trains its students for. I think I may be more interested in outreach than policy and organization.

I didn’t learn anything particularly unexpected from this interview, as I have done quite a bit of research into the different majors that have piqued my interest. Catherine’s answers reinforced my view of the college being very focused on the community and service, and about faculty that really cares about its students and programs.

I think it’s not so much any more that I need to learn about the program rather than what I need to figure out about myself, and if it would be a good fit for what I am interested in and what my skills are.

To be honest, watching the videos going over every major actually really helped me, since they gave a basic idea of what each major was. I have a tendency to fall into the trap of opportunity cost, worrying about what I would be missing by making a decision that closes the door on a different choice. This really allowed me to see what ALL of the options were, and to judge whether I would even want that other path.

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