Carleton Insider Series

31 August 2020

This series of 10-minute interviews with Carleton alums in key sectors talk about their career paths and the impact of COVID-19 on their careers. Interviews were conducted in spring and summer 2020.

  • Gaining experience in public health in research in the time of COVID-19: An interview with Harrison Reeder ‘15 (Interviewed by Julia Kenney ‘20)
    Are you considering a career in public health or research? Harrison shares how he gained practical experience in a variety of research environments through networking and taking advantage of Carleton resources. He discusses how a liberal arts background can make research more profound and relevant in these times.
  • How serendipity, curiosity, and liberal arts skills led to a leadership position in the nonprofit world: An interview with Nonoko Sako ‘00 (Interviewed by Julia Kenney ‘20)
    Nonoko shares how her interest in education led her to San Francisco.  Once there, she had a series of opportunities with increasing responsibility that ultimately brought her to the nonprofit world in Minnesota. As a liberal arts graduate, she developed essential skills that impacted her future path. Recognizing that no perfect job exists, especially at the entry level, you can figure out what skills you have and what you need to develop will serve you over the long run.
  • Exploring a career in advocacy and family support with Celia Caffery ‘12 (Interviewed by Ella Stack ‘22)
    (Warning: contains reference to domestic violence and trauma)  Celia describes her work as a victim advocate, using creative strategies to continue to provide support in the remote environment. Celia shares how her organization has increased communication among staff and promoted transparency surrounding decisions to reduce the stress surrounding all of the uncertainty. Celia recommends students reach out to alumni for guidance and helpful information in a search for jobs and internships.
  • Making a career out of an interest in international affairs and finance: An interview with Derek Fried ‘93 (Interviewed by Zoe Pharo ‘21)
    Derek shares how his career has progressed through a variety of sectors to land in trade finance. With COVID-19, Derek highlights how skills like flexibility, adaptability, empathy, and support have become essential to daily life. With a shifting financial landscape, while recognizing that stress levels are rising, the crisis poses an opportunity for Carls to not only highlight talent and skills, but also demonstrate resilience in these times. 
  • Storytelling through film with Caley Shannon ‘14 (Interviewed by Zoe Pharo ‘21)
    Caley discusses the role of art in times of crisis and being helpful in these times. She shares how her work has been impacted by COVID-19, especially on a daily basis. Her liberal arts education prepared her with a willingness to learn, take on challenges, and ability to learn on the fly. The strength of the Carleton community endures. 
  • How did it happen? Crafting a career in machine learning and research. An interview with Sara Hooker ‘13 (Interview by Kavie Yu ‘20)
    Sara describes how an interest in economics and being in the Bay Area brought her on an atypical path to an exciting career in machine learning. Sara is now in an open-source research lab with significant resources available from a private sector corporation. Sara describes how technology can be a powerful equalizing tool. Careers often evolve with a combination of passion, perseverance, and luck. In the time of COVID-19, progress can be measured in a variety of ways, including redefining success with other non-achievement oriented metrics. 
  • In the time of COVID, artists are necessary. A conversation with Phil Chan ’06 (Interviewed by Hana Horiuchi ‘23)
    Phil started a larger conversation in the dance world about how to negotiate the collision of old-world views in Western arts with a diverse society in the 21st Century. Curiosity about life and dance was a way for Phil to find power and share the gift of advocacy with others. Phil suggests that the liberal arts background allows people to have a diversity of skills, especially to be able to write well and express yourself. As Phil describes, we all have a desire to express ourselves as people, to feel belonging, to feel heard and seen, and listened to, which all happens in the context and experience of the arts.
  • Working on the instruction manual of the edge of the universe: Forging a career in chemistry with Alex Kosanovich ’14 (Interviewed by Hana Horiuchi ‘23)
    Alex discovered his passion for chemistry in his A&I, and used his Carleton experience to find a fulfilling position in industry. He now scopes out projects, conducts experiments, and delivers solutions that are sustainable and respond to the needs of various customers. Working from home, Alex has shifted towards broader analytical perspectives, including financial and market analysis to inform his work. During COVID, Alex has forged more connections with potential collaborators. He also encourages current Carls to take care of themselves during these challenging times, and once prepared, to reach out to Carleton alumni to gain perspectives on industries of interest.
  • Legal advocacy in the time of COVID, an interview with Jessica Bell ‘08 (Interviewed by Hana Horiuchi ‘23)
    Jessica’s path after graduation brought her to obtain a law degree and an internship focused on advocacy in Alaska. In her practice, she provides legal services in Domestic Relations, Probate, Estate Planning and Guardianship. With the onset of COVID, she has been able to maintain her practice, while navigating the challenges of a virtual environment for court proceedings and communicating with clients. Although not often discussed, Jessica has seen how the lack of access to technology and socio-economic status requires accommodation by law firms. For students, Jessica recommends using this time to explore interests and create an opportunity to shadow a professional to better understand the realities of a profession.