Five months after receiving their diplomas, the 458 members of the Class of 2011 have acquired new addresses throughout the world, from St. Paul to Johannesburg.
Despite the economic downtown, 41 percent reported being employed as of July—up significantly from last year, when just 33 percent had found work. Like the members of previous classes, most new alumni still see graduate school in their future: About 16 percent of them were planning to attend graduate or professional school this fall, with 70 percent saying they would attend in the next five years, according to Denise Ward of the Career Development Center. We zeroed in on six representative members of the Class of 2011. Read on to learn more about the varied paths and places they have chosen.
Hometown: Lacuane, France
Fall 2011: San Francisco, Analysis Group, financial analyst
I work as a financial analyst for Analysis Group in downtown San Francisco; I interned with them last summer. The job involves finding the right data, doing statistical analyses and producing graphs, tables, and short memos to serve as economic evidence in a variety of legal litigations, such as investors claiming damages to a company, market share and monopoly issues, or rights to energy resources issues. Macalester taught me both the purely technical skills I need to perform this type of data analysis, as well as the critical thinking skills needed to understand the bigger issues at stake: What’s the problem, why do we want to solve it, and how does solving it change things? These two skill sets, along with the economics department’s connections with my firm, have definitely been decisive in shaping my post-college experience.
Hometown: Manchester, Jamaica
Studied: Anthropology and American studies; African studies
Fall 2011: Yamanashi, Japan, English teacher
I’m an assistant English teacher at a high school in Yamanashi, Japan, working here through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. Japanese is a new language to me; I did a three-week course in Jamaica after graduation. I’ve always been fascinated by other cultures and interested in cross-cultural exchange as well as in teaching and education. I’m contracted for one year, with the possibility of staying for up to five years. I applied to the JET Program because it provides the opportunity to learn about the Japanese culture, share my Jamaican culture, and be in the classroom.
Natalie Owens Pike
Studied: American studies and English; history
Fall 2011: Indianola, Mississippi, Teach for America
Indianola, Mississippi, with just 5,000 residents, is located in the Mississippi Delta region. I’m the only foreign language teacher in the smallest county in Mississippi, but one of about 500 teachers working in that region for Teach For America. After driving through 25 miles of cotton and cornfields on my way to school every morning, I teach six periods of Spanish 1 and 2. My 125 high school students live in a high-poverty area, and many are academically behind or at risk. I worked as a campus coordinator for TFA during my senior year, trying to recruit Macalester applicants. TFA is a meaningful and powerful way to connect my passion for racial and social justice through the vision of ending educational inequity. The Delta is an amazing place of literature, history, pain, and powerful world-shakers. Spending these two years immersed in a history and culture so different from my own will shape me as much—or more—than I hope to shape my students.
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Studied: Religious studies and Anthropology; Asian studies
Fall 2011: Cambridge, Massachusettes, Harvard Divinity School
I’ll be at Harvard Divinity School for two years earning a master’s degree in theological studies. I hope to broaden my knowledge of how religion has shaped the history of the United States. I ended up on this path to shape my personal narrative as an immigrant. I migrated to the United States in 2003 from Pakistan and fell in love with my high school social studies and U.S. government classes. I assumed I’d major in political science, but somehow instead majored in religious studies and anthropology. My honors thesis looked at the commemoration of John Brown, who attacked the arsenal at Harpers Ferry to incite a mass slave insurrection in 1859. Now I plan to continue applying my training in religious studies to American history, thus situating my own narrative as an immigrant to United States. My hope with this degree is to reconcile the antagonism between Islam and America and to think about how religion shapes our discourse on immigration rights and reform.
Hometown: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Studied: Music and geology
Fall 2011: New Haven, Connecticut, Yale graduate school
I remember sitting in my introduction to geology course at Mac sophomore year, and in the first hour I knew that geology—specifically, paleontology—was what I wanted to pursue after graduation. I conducted primary research at East Glacier National Park in Montana, studying the environmental history of Many Glacier Valley, and studied abroad in Ireland, splitting my time between studying music and geology. As I completed my geology studies at Macalester, the idea of continuing my education became the obvious choice for me. When I was accepted to the best paleontology program in the country, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my future.
Hometown: Zimmerman, Minnesota
Studied: Mathematics and environmental studies
Fall 2011: Minneapolis, Target Technology Leadership Program
The Target Technology Leadership Program is a 15-month rotational program in which trainees move through the support, infrastructure, and development departments within Target Technology Services. After completing a month of training, including a one-week in-store experience (I even got to decorate cakes!), I began my first rotation supporting new technology for Target’s Canadian expansion. I heard about this job through the math department and was hired in April, one of just 15 students from across the Midwest. I’m excited to see where all my different rotations will take me.