One Degree, Many Paths
Students meet with alumni, including Paul Checchia ’89, an English major who is now a pediatric cardiologist, and political science major Steven Schwartz ‘84, a professor of pediatrics, at a Sept. 26 panel on paths into the medical field.
The econ major heads to Wall Street. The political science major lands in Washington, D.C. The English major becomes a … cardiovascular pediatric surgeon?
For some students, the professional path can seem pre-ordained, a natural step from their major into a related career. But that’s certainly not true for all Weinberg College graduates, who often find that their degrees lead to many unexpected careers and adventures.
It isn’t always easy for students to envision those paths, which is why the College’s Student-Alumni Engagement Program showcases the many ways Weinberg College alumni are putting their degrees to work.
Each quarter, the program hosts a series of panels featuring alumni working in a variety of fields. For students already committed to a particular direction, the panels offer a chance to ask questions and start networking. For those still exploring their options (and perhaps feeling just a bit anxious about the future), the panels provide a reassuring sense of possibility.
“The whole goal is to broaden their concept of what the arts and science degree is preparing them for,” says program director Jane Corey Holt.
This fall, the College hosted five panels exploring a wide variety of careers — medicine, government and public policy, neuroscience, intercultural careers, and careers for economics majors outside of finance and consulting. More than a dozen alumni returned for the talks, including:
- English major Paul Checchia ’89, a pediatric cardiologist and medical director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital
- Economics and biological sciences major Muhammad Safdari ’10, a project manager at Facebook
- Psychology major Hace Oh ’11, a health policy and economics consultant at the MITRE Corporation’s Health Transformation Tech Center
- Anthropology major Leah Witt ’07, a pulmonary/critical care fellow at University of Chicago Medicine
Oh, who spoke to students at the Nov. 4 panel on careers in government and public policy, called it a privilege to return to campus and share his career’s “unexpected twists.” As a pre-med student, Oh admitted, he had tunnel vision and struggled to understand how the arts and sciences prepared him for a breadth of career opportunities. He added that he hoped his words to the students provided “perspective and inspiration.”Back to top